GP3 Series: Hughes ends Day 1 at Le Castellet on top

GP3 Series: Hughes ends Day 1 at Le Castellet on top

Jake Hughes was fastest overall in the first GP3 test session of 2018, setting a best lap of 1:49.456 to beat ART Grand Prix teammate Nikita Mazepin and Niko Kari of MP Motorsport to the top of the timesheets.

The day was greeted with a mixture of early snowfall and drizzle, and the teams spent the first hour of the session completing their customary installation laps in the wet. New team MP Motorsport were quickest out of the blocks, as Kari took to the circuit first and was shortly followed out by team-mates Dorian Boccolacci and Leonard Hoogenboom.

Following the flurry of activity in the opening hour, the teams waited for warmer conditions at the Circuit Paul Ricard before returning to the track for their first flying runs, Juan Manuel Correa of Jenzer Motorsport eventually breaking the stalemate after half an hour.

As the sun came out, the times quickly began to tumble. With 15 minutes left on the clock, Trident’s Alessio Lorandi broke into the 2:00s before Hubert eclipsed the field with the first laptime below the two minute mark, ending the morning on top of the timesheets. At the end of the morning session, Lorandi and Alesi were second and third, followed by Trident stablemate Pedro Piquet.

Mazepin went into the break fifth fastest, ahead of Tatiana Calderon (Jenzer Motorsport) and Hughes, while Boccolacci, Leonardo Pulcini (Campos) and Joey Mawson (Arden) completed the initial top 10.

With the afternoon’s track conditions much clearer compared to the morning’s running, the drivers were lapping far quicker than they had managed earlier in the day.

The circuit was buzzing with activity in the opening 30 minutes – Jenzer’s David Beckmann first to break ground – as all the teams sought to maximise their time on-track. Hubert immediately picked up from where he left off in the morning to set the early pace, heading fellow ART teammates Mazepin, Callum Ilott and Hughes after half an hour.

Newcomer Mawson leapfrogged the ARTs at the hour mark, becoming the first driver to drop into the 1m50s laptimes, before Hubert once again returned to the top of the timesheets half-way through the session.

The circuit was quiet at the midpoint of the session as the teams geared up for the final hour of the session. A number of drivers traded fastest times, with Boccolacci first to set a lap in the 1m49s bracket before being displaced by Hubert and Pulcini.

Hughes then surged to the top of the standings with 15 minutes remaining, jumping ahead of teammate Mazepin, and remained unchallenged for the rest of the session. Kari beat Pulcini to third fastest, while Hubert dropped to fifth overall.

Boccolacci was sixth fastest, ahead of Gabriel Aubry (Arden), while Trident trio Lorandi, Ryan Tveter and Piquet completed the top 10.

Day 1 Morning Results

Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1
Anthoine Hubert
ART Grand Prix
1:59.549
21
2
Alessio Lorandi
Trident
1:59.799
19
3
Giuliano Alesi
Trident
1:59.996
19
4
Pedro Piquet
Trident
2:00.391
16
5
Nikita Mazepin
ART Grand Prix
2:00.539
19
6
Tatiana Calderon
Jenzer Motorsport
2:00.548
27
7
Jake Hughes
ART Grand Prix
2:00.554
18
8
Dorian Boccolacci
MP Motorsport
2:00.569
17
9
Leonardo Pulcini
Campos Racing
2:00.621
15
10
Joey Mawson
Arden International
2:00.822
20
11
Simo Laaksonen
Campos Racing
2:00.957
28
12
Ryan Tveter
Trident
2:01.005
19
13
Juan Manuel Correa
Jenzer Motorsport
2:01.342
20
14
Niko Kari
MP Motorsport
2:01.630
9
15
Leonard Hoogenboom
MP Motorsport
2:02.103
18
16
David Beckmann
Jenzer Motorsport
2:03.042
17
17
Diego Menchaca
Campos Racing
2:03.490
15
18
Callum Ilott
ART Grand Prix
2:03.508
8
19
Gabriel Aubry
Arden International
2:03.752
13
20
Julien Falchero
Arden International
2:03.969
12
Day 1 Afternoon Results
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1
Jake Hughes
ART Grand Prix
1:49.456
39
2
Nikita Mazepin
ART Grand Prix
1:49.563
41
3
Niko Kari
MP Motorsport
1:49.575
41
4
Leonardo Pulcini
Campos Racing
1:49.599
35
5
Anthoine Hubert
ART Grand Prix
1:49.786
39
6
Dorian Boccolacci
MP Motorsport
1:49.846
36
7
Gabriel Aubry
Arden International
1:50.003
39
8
Alessio Lorandi
Trident
1:50.197
35
9
Ryan Tveter
Trident
1:50.267
37
10
Pedro Piquet
Trident
1:50.335
37
11
Joey Mawson
Arden International
1:50.528
32
12
Tatiana Calderon
Jenzer Motorsport
1:50.568
41
13
Simo Laaksonen
Campos Racing
1:50.653
42
14
Juan Manuel Correa
Jenzer Motorsport
1:50.706
43
15
David Beckmann
Jenzer Motorsport
1.50.928
38
16
Julien Falchero
Arden International
1:50.943
25
17
Giuliano Alesi
Trident
1:51.264
41
18
Leonard Hoogenboom
MP Motorsport
1:51.849
31
19
Diego Menchaca
Campos Racing
1:51.888
37
20
Callum Ilott
ART Grand Prix
1:52.117
19