A late lap propelled Trident’s Giuliano Alesi to the top of the timesheet ahead of team-mate David Beckmann in practice for the final round of the GP3 season in Abu Dhabi.
Having been eighth on the timesheet with 15 minutes of the session remaining, Alesi was one of a number of drivers to improve significantly in the final 10 minutes of the session.
These late improvements demoted the teams’ championship-winning ART Grand Prix drivers, who recorded their session-best efforts early on.
Anthoine Hubert, who enters this weekend with a 32-point championship lead over team-mate Nikita Mazepin, led the times with 15 minutes remaining but slid to an eventual eighth. Jake Hughes edged Mazepin in 12th and 13th respectively, while Callum Ilott dropped to 19th.
Recording three session-best sector times, Alesi vaulted ahead of Beckmann to clinch top spot with a 1m55.676s – eclipsing Beckmann’s benchmark by 0.842 seconds. On his penultimate?lap of the session, Beckmann responded with the fastest time in sector one, but was unable to dethrone Alesi overall.
Beckmann ended up second ahead of Arden International’s Gabriel Aubry, who also improved significantly with his final run of the 45-minute practice.
European Formula 3 race-winner Jehan Daruvala, who makes his GP3 debut this weekend with MP Motorsport, was fourth. The Force India Formula 1 academy driver gradually climbed up the timesheet as the session developed.
His former Euro F3 rival and Renault junior Sacha Fenestraz ended up sixth in what was only his second GP3 practice session after having made his series debut at the previous round in Russia.