Pedro Piquet swept to his maiden victory in the GP3 Series at Silverstone, taking the lead at Turn 1 and turning in a flawless performance in Race 2 to stand at the top of the podium. Polesitter Giuliano Alesi grabbed second place, 1.4s down on the Brazilian driver, as America’s Ryan Tveter crossed the line third to complete an all-Trident podium.
On a cool Silverstone morning, Piquet got a good start and darted into an early lead past Alesi, who was under pressure early on from Leonardo Pulcini – the Italian was batted away by the Frenchman at Turn 3 to put him in the clutches of Tveter. Behind them, Callum Ilott endured a wide moment as he sought to make early progress, allowing Race 1 winner Anthoine Hubert to cruise past and immediately challenge Tveter for fourth.
Piquet looked to make an early impression, and set a fastest lap moments before the DRS was activated to try and build a gap over Alesi. Tveter did likewise a lap later, putting a buffer between himself and Hubert. The American racer was able to retain his good pace and continued to catch Pulcini, clearing the Campos Racing driver with a run into Stowe corner.
Further down the field, plenty of action brewed as a number of drivers looked to battle for the lower reaches of the points, with Jake Hughes embarking on a recovery drive to take 10th from Dorian Boccolacci at Brooklands, resisting the French driver’s attempts to climb back past at the following corner. Tatiana Calderon and David Beckmann shortly joined the battle, and the Colombian threw the kitchen sink at Boccolacci in the pursuit of points, but to no avail.
Alesi had wound Piquet to within DRS range, but a wily drive from the Brazilian was more than sufficient to keep his teammate at bay. Behind the leading pair, Tveter returned to setting fastest laps to cover off the threat of Hubert, who had taken fourth from Pulcini – who dropped further down the field moments later when Ilott stole past. With five laps left on the board, Piquet found something extra in hand over Alesi, crucially opening the gap to over a second to nullify any threat of DRS, rendering Alesi’s two remaining activations unusable.
The battle for points raged on in the midfield, Hughes bearing down on Kari to take eighth place. Taking his opportunity around the outside of Brooklands, the Brit found himself being run off-track by Kari, leaving the two to make contact at Luffield. Kari earned a five-second penalty for running Hughes off the road, although the Finn retired moments later with damage from the collision. On the next lap, a virtual safety car was triggered after Mawson and Beckmann made contact at at the same corner, sending the German into the gravel.
As the VSC came to an end before the final lap, Piquet continued to resist any threat from Alesi and opened the lead to 1.4s, giving him enough space to clinch his first victory in GP3. Alesi and Tveter completed a Trident 1-2-3, as Hubert collected fourth position. Ilott set the fastest lap from fifth place to stay six points adrift of Hubert in the standings, as Pulcini took sixth place. ART pair Nikita Mazepin and Hughes completed the scorers.
Hubert leaves Silverstone with 100 points in the standings, with Ilott following behind on 94. Pulcini reclaims third overall with 73 points, two clear of Mazepin. ART Grand Prix have 300 points in the teams’ standings, 104 points clear of second-placed Trident. Campos are third with 77 points.
The next round takes place at the Hungaroring, Budapest, and its technical nature makes it a favourite among the drivers. With overtaking at a premium in Hungary, only the most daring drivers will be rewarded.