Russell flies to maiden win in Austria; Maini 10th

By | July 9, 2017

George Russell, Jack Aitken, Nirei Fukuzumi, ART Grand Prix, Red Bull Ring 8jul2017 Photo courtesy GP 3 Series

George Russell has claimed his first GP3 Series win with a fine drive from pole position in this afternoon’s Race 1 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria: the Briton squeezed past fellow front row starter Jack Aitken when the lights went out to lead the grid into turn one, and held position all the way to the flag to head Aitken, Nirei Fukuzumi and Anthoine Hubert for an ART Grand Prix 1-2-3-4.

The race opened to muggy but dry conditions, but it was of no concern to poleman Russell: at the start Aitken had a slightly better reaction but Russell had the better line, slightly squeezing his teammate to shut down any attack into turn one before heading off into the distance. Behind them Dorian Boccolacci had a poor start and fell back, opening a line up the inside into turn 2: Hubert filled it but bounced off the kerbs into Leonardo Pulcini who hit Arden teammate Steijn Schothorst, prompting a VSC period to remove the Italian’s car.
Quick work by the marshals saw the race run live before the end of the lap, and Russell controlled the restart well ahead of teammates Aitken and Hubert, with Giuliano Alesi leading Dorian Boccolacci, who dropped back at the start from P3, Ryan Tveter, Fukuzumi, Schothorst and Alessio Lorandi, who was soon promoted when Schothorst too had to stop by the side of the track due to a damaged car.
Hubert was handed a 10 second time penalty for causing a collision but ran at the same pace as his teammates, who were pulling away from the rest of the field from the front. There were time penalties for Tatiana Calderon and Bruno Baptista too, with the DAMS pair picking up 5 seconds each for overtaking under yellow flags during a collision between Julien Falchero (who also received a 10s penalty) and Niko Kari at the start of the race at turn 1, but who were running P10 and 11 as they looked to climb up the order.
Fukuzumi and Tveter found a way past Alesi early in the race, but at temperatures rose the time gaps throughout the field held still as everyone looked to preserve their tyres to the end of a long race. And it was only at the end that anyone looked for a little more than they had: Boccolacci tried to get by Alesi but ran wide and lost a number of places, promoting Lorandi and Raoul Hyman on the penultimate lap.
And when the chequered flag dropped it was Russell who received the plaudits, leading Aitken by 2 seconds at the line. Hubert was next on track but was dropped to P4 with his time penalty, promoting Fukuzumi to the podium while the Frenchman picked up the fastest lap on his final tour. Tveter won the bragging rights at Trident after holding off Alesi for almost the whole race, ahead of Lorandi and Hyman in P7 and 8: Calderon was 9th on track but 13th on the classifications, promoting Boccolacci and Arjun Maini for the final points positions.
Provisional Qualifying Classification
Driver
Team
1.
George Russell
ART Grand Prix
2.
Jack Aitken
ART Grand Prix
3.
Nirei Fukuzumi
ART Grand Prix
4.
Anthoine Hubert
ART Grand Prix
5.
Ryan Tveter
Trident
6.
Giuliano Alesi
Trident
7.
Alessio Lorandi
Jenzer Motorsport
8.
Raoul Hyman
Campos Racing
9.
Dorian Boccolacci
Arden International
10.
Arjun Maini
Jenzer Motorsport
11.
Kevin Jörg
Trident
12.
Marcos Siebert
Campos Racing
13.
Tatiana Calderon
DAMS
14.
Bruno Baptista
DAMS
15.
Julien Falchero
Campos Racing
 
Not Classified
Niko Kari
Arden International
Santino Ferrucci
DAMS
Steijn Schothorst
Arden International
Leonardo Pulcini
Arden International
 
Fastest Lap  
Anthoine Hubert
1:21.298 on lap 24