Home Featured Russell crowned GP3 champion at Jerez as Lorandi takes first win

Russell crowned GP3 champion at Jerez as Lorandi takes first win

by Elliot Wood

Photo: GP3 Media Service

Mercedes F1 junior George Russell became the 2017 GP3 champion with a fourth place finish in the Jerez sprint race, as Alessio Lorandi became the seventh different race winner of the season.

Russell made one of the only overtakes of the race on the first lap, demoting ART Grand Prix team-mate and chief title rival Jack Aitken to seventh at Turn 6.

Over the next few laps he set several fastest laps, and gaining the two points that come with it, before lifting off and nursing his tyres.

With four laps to go a crash between Red Bull juniors Niko Kari and Dan Ticktum brought out the safety car, and promoted Russell to fourth.

With Aitken slipping behind feature race winner Nirei Fukuzumi shortly after being passed by Russell, the points gap between the top two increased to 50, enough to put the title out of Aitken?s reach.

Another celebrating come the end of the race was Lorandi, who took his first car racing win since the 2016 Pau Grand Prix.

The Italian kept out of reach of Dorian Boccolacci for the duration of the race, although the race lead was rarely anything greater than three quarters of a second.

Kari looked set to take his second podium of the season until the stewards awarded him a 10 second penalty for colliding with Ticktum.

At the end of lap 13 Ticktum got close to Kari, and looked around the outside of his Red Bull stablemate at Turn 1 on the following lap.

At the exit of the corner Ticktum tucked in and had the inside line for Turn 2 despite some choppy defence from Kari on the short straight between the two corners.

Ticktum used up all the available track through Turn 2, leading to Kari going off track on the exit, skittering across the kerbs and re-entering at Turn 4.

He came back on track in the path of Ticktum, and the side-on impact pitched the British driver into the gravel.

ART driver Anthoine Hubert almost made it three wide as the crash happened, and although he tucked behind Kari afterwards he was awarded the final podium spot.

Behind the four ART cars was Giuliano Alesi, who spent most of the race pressuring Aitken, and Tatiana Calderon.

Alesi is also the last of the four drivers who will be fighting it out for second place in the standings at Abu Dhabi in November. A 41 point gap covers ART trio Aitken, Fukuzumi, Hubert and Trident driver Alesi, with 48 available over the two races.

Race Results (17 laps)
1 Alessio Lorandi Jenzer 28m05.939s
2 Dorian Boccolacci Trident +0.743s
3 Anthoine Hubert ART +1.696s
4 George Russell ART +2.722s
5 Nirei Fukuzumi ART +3.065s
6 Jack Aitken ART +3.617s
7 Giuliano Alesi Trident +4.077s
8 Tatiana Calderon DAMS +4.376s
9 Julien Falchero Campos +5.198s
10 Steijn Schothorst Arden +5.563s
11 Leonardo Pulcini Arden +5.948s
12 Arjun Maini Jenzer +6.576s
13 Bruno Baptista DAMS +6.960s
14 Ryan Tveter Trident +7.228s
15 Raoul Hyman Campos +7.723s
16 Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer +8.096s
17 Marcos Siebert Campos +8.637s
18 Kevin Jorg Trident +8.746s
19 Niko Kari Arden +11.510s
Ret Dan Ticktum DAMS
Fastest Lap: Russell, 1m32.279s

Championship Standings
1 Russell 190 ? 2 Aitken 140 ? 3 Fukuzumi 134 ? 4 Hubert 117 ? 5 Alesi 99 ? 6 Lorandi 82 ? 7 Boccolacci 72 ? 8 Tveter 62 ? 9 Maini 53 ? 10 Kari 36

Photo: GP3 Media Service