Home Featured Mazepin pips Pulcini to take home GP3 pole in Sochi twilight qualifying

Mazepin pips Pulcini to take home GP3 pole in Sochi twilight qualifying

by Ida Wood

Photo: Zak Mauger / GP3 Series Media Service

ART Grand Prix’s Nikita Mazepin took GP3 pole at his home race in Sochi, narrowly beating Campos Racing’s Leonardo Pulcini in a qualifying session that took place in increasing darkness.

Mazepin’s championship leading team-mate Anthoine Hubert was on top for most of qualifying, before Mazepin started threatening him with quick laps in the final 10 minutes as visibility decreased. In the final run he improved on his best time, as Hubert slipped down to fifth.

Pulcini’s second place came off a brilliant first sector, which incorporates the 180? Turn 4, an he ended up just 0.017 seconds off Mazepin, who twice went wide and off track during his final lap.

Callum Ilott led the second row of the grid for ART, with Giuliano Alesi putting in a late lap for Trident to take fourth. All four drivers were covered by less than a tenth of a second, with a second bunch of cars fighting over fifth to eighth positions.

Hubert led that group, ahead of Alesi’s team-mate Ryan Tveter, Campos Racing’s Simo Laaksonen and MP Motorsport’s Richard Verschoor. Joey Mawson and Jake Hughes completed the top 10 for Arden and ART, the latter being pushed back after going wide at Turn 3 and aborting his last lap.

Renault F1 junior Sacha Fenestraz qualified 13th on his championship debut, less than a second off the pace.

David Beckmann, who took pole and race one victory in the previous two rounds at Spa and Monza, came to a halt late on with smoke pouring from his car. He ended up 15th.


Qualifying results
Pos Name Team Time
1 Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix 1m52.569s
2 Leonardo Pulcini Campos Racing +0.017s
3 Callum Ilott ART Grand Prix +0.086s
4 Giuliano Alesi Trident +0.095s
5 Anthoine Hubert ART Grand Prix +0.229s
6 Ryan Tveter Trident +0.257s
7 Simo Laaksonen Campos Racing +0.275s
8 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport +0.296s
9 Joey Mawson Arden International +0.609s
10 Jake Hughes ART Grand Prix +0.649s
11 Pedro Piquet Trident +0.693s
12 Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer Motorsport +0.793s
13 Sacha Fenestraz Arden International +0.866s
14 Tatiana Calderon Jenzer Motorsport +1.092s
15 David Beckmann Trident +1.196s
16 Devlin DeFrancesco MP Motorsport +1.423s
17 Gabriel Aubry Arden International +1.438s
18 Diego Menchaca Campos Racing +2.045s
19 Jannes Fittje Jenzer Motorsport +2.277s