This Time Last Year | Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium 2018

Photo: Zak Mauger / GP3 Series Media Service. ref: Digital Image

The Belgium Grand Prix was round 6 out of the 9 race weekends where we found Antoine Hubert miles ahead of the rest with 125 points, our current Formula 2 Championship leader Callum Ilott with 110 points, Pulcini sat comfortably in third with and Nikita Mazepin holding fourth with 92 points. The Belgium Grand Prix tousled in the hands of the top four while also managing to see two new faces on the podium.

Qualifying

Prior to qualifying starting, practise only ran for ten minutes. This was due to a red flag as there was an issue regarding the ECU. All the cars had to be reprogrammed ahead of the qualifying session. With a 30 minute session, all drivers drove on the medium compound. The medium was the chosen compound for GP3 so it is dependently down to the driver to maintain their tyre. As we head into the Belgium Grand Prix, Hubert sits with a back to back pole position and will be itching for a third.

Within the first eight minutes, we saw Hubert cross the line to go fastest in qualifying but Ilott soon shot to the top with Beckmann slotting in between the two. Ilott took a 2:05.358 while Beckmann was 0.050 seconds slower and Hubert was 0.078 seconds slower. Joey Mawson went wide, snubbing his fastest lap but still managed to position himself in 10th. With less than 20 minutes to go, Ryan Tveter goes fastest with a 2:05.336, pushing Ilott to second, only 0.022 seconds behind. Alesi followed suit, placing himself into third with a 2:05.390. Hubert, with 18 minutes to go, heads over the line with a 2:05.160, followed by Mazepin with a 2:05.185. Beckmann wasn’t far behind as he proceeds to demote both drivers to take the top spot with a 2:05.078. Mawson crosses the line with a 2:05.866 which places him 13th with 17 minutes to go however, his time was disallowed due to the track limits.

With less than 5 minutes to go, the top five still sit at the same so it’s anybody’s game. Tveter pushes to first with a 2:04.677 with Pedro Piquet slotting in to second with a 2:04.722. Hughes is next to cross the line, demoting Tveter from first as he goes 0.147 seconds quicker. Mazepin is next to cross the line but can’t manage to take the position from Hughes and places himself second. Both drivers are soon demoted as Hubert crosses the line next to take first with a 2:04.479. Ilott’s the next driver to cross the line and takes fourth, only 0.040 seconds slower. However, Alesi is next to demote the grid as he crosses the line in first, 0.076 seconds quicker than Hubert. Alesi’s time was quickly removed due to track limits but that didn’t reinstate the grid for too long as Beckmann is the next to go quickest on the grid, 0.037 second quicker.

For their final run, Tveter makes no improvement yet Piquet crosses the line in third. Hughes, Hubert and Mazepin also make no improvements, securing their places in fourth, second and fifth. Beckmann crosses the line a tenth of a second ahead of Hubert, taking his first ever GP3 Pole Position.

The grid is as follows:
1. David Beckmann – Trident – 2:04.335
2. Antoine Hubert – ART – 2:04.479
3. Pedro Piquet – Trident – 2:04.529
4. Jake Hughes – ART – 2:04.530
5. Nikita Mazepin – ART – 2:04.538
6. Callum Ilott – ART – 2:04.549
7. Simo Laaksonen – Campos – 2:04.633
8. Ryan Tveter – Trident – 2:04.677
9. Giuliano Alesi – Trident – 2:04.685
10. Joey Mawson – Arden – 2:04.712
11. Tatiana Calderon – Jenzer – 2:04.804
12. Leonardo Pulcini – Campos – 2:04.945
13. Juan Manuel Correa – Jenzer – 2:05.068
14. Gabriel Aubry – Arden – 2:05.135
15. Julien Falchero – Arden – 2:05.278
16. Niko Kari – MP Motorsport – 2:05.296
17. Diego Menchaca – Campos – 2:05.782
18. Devlin DeFrancesco – MP Motorsport – 2:05.974
19. Jannes Fittje – Jenzer – 2:06.036
20. Richard Verschoor – MP Motorsport – 2:05.269 *DISQUALIFIED*

Feature Race
(Photo by Zak Mauger / LAT Images)

As we set up for the race, Verschoor will not be starting 20th and will be starting from the pit lane due to missing his weighbridge in qualifying.

Beckmann’s managed to pull away incredibly from the get go, getting away from the mass drama that gathered behind. Hubert is pushed back as his car is swarmed from behind before Mazepin goes wide out of the first corner. Tveter and Piquet push ahead of the pack, trying to catch Beckmann who is miles ahead of the rest. The pack splits into raidillon but as we head down the straight, Tveter went wide and proceeds to give the place to Piquet. Tveter hangs on, holding second from Piquet. Hubert goes down the inside, taking third from Piquet as he gains on Tveter. Mazepin and Ilott drop to seventh and eighth.

Kari heads off track, placing him into 20th. Piquet pushes back ahead of Hubert, placing him third. As Mazepin takes the position on Alesi, Hubert returns to third as they continue their battle for the podium. Ilott takes the opportunity to follow Mazepin on Alesi and moves himself to seventh. Ilott’s next move is on Mazepin as the battled for 6th but that ends terribly as contact pushes Ilott off the track which gives Mawson the opportunity to push to 7th. Ilott drops to 9th as Alesi heads up to 8th. Pulcini is the next driver to head off of the track as he drops to 12th behind Correa. Beckmann currently sits 1.5 seconds ahead of second place.

As we head into lap three, Hughes manages to make a successful move on Piquet to take fourth. Beckmann currently holds the fastest lap but that’s taken from Tveter in lap five. Kari and Pulcini head into a battle as Kari goes down the outside to take 14th. Into lap six, Beckmann takes back his fastest lap.

Tveter is now within a second of Beckmann for the first time since turn one of the first lap. As we head into lap seven, Beckmann, Tveter, Hubert and Piquet have six DRS’ left to use while Hughes, Mazepin, Ilott and Mawson have five. Tveter finally uses his DRS as he ends up 0.3 seconds behind race leader, Beckmann. The two drivers are currently 3 seconds ahead of Hubert in third. Beckmann manages to hold his own against Tveter, holding first position for another lap. Tveter is up six places.

In lap nine, Tveter attempts to take the outside on Beckmann with his second DRS use but Beckmann defends as Tveter heads off of track. Beckmann holds his position for another lap. Correa makes a move on Laaksonen but goes wide and heads off track. Fittje finds his car go into a safety session, causing his speed to decrease drastically and puts himself in last.

With five laps to go, Tveter holds second and sits two seconds behind Beckmann who safely sits in first. Correa makes the move on Laaksonen to take 10th and into the points. Piquet pushes to fourth, taking the position from Hughes. Hughes goes deep into the corner, leaving him vulnerable as Mazepin attempts to overtake. Mazepin successfully takes the position into turn one on lap sixteen.

With two laps to go, Mazepin and Hughes are the last with DRS available. Ilott gains on his team mate, Hughes, as he tries to keep up with Mazepin. Mawson stays close to Ilott as they battle for fifth. As we head into the final lap, Beckmann, Tveter and Hubert are close as they battle for the top spot. Hubert closes in on Tveter but Tveter manages to hold the position to finish second. Beckmann crosses the line first to win his first GP3 race, taking a Trident 1-2 with Hubert taking another podium. Ilott manages to take position on Hughes, demoting him to seventh and taking home sixth. Mawson locks up, colliding with Alesi as he rejoins. A Turn 5 incident involving Falchero and Pulcini is to be investigated. Hubert was the driver to finish with a fastest lap of 2:07.654

The standings were as followed:
1. David Beckmann
2. Ryan Tveter
3. Antoine Hubert
4. Pedro Piquet
5. Nikita Mazepin
6. Callum Ilott
7. Jake Hughes
8. Joey Mawson
9. Giuliano Alesi
10. Tatiana Calderon
11. Juan Manuel Correa
12. Simo Laaksonen
13. Gabriel Aubry
14. Niko Kari
15. Leonardo Pulcini
16. Julian Falchero
17. Richard Verschoor
18. Devlin DeFrancesco
19. Diego Manchaca
20. Jannes Fittje

Sprint Race
(Photo by Joe Portlock / LAT Images)

The Sprint Race grid is as follows:
1. Joey Mawson
2. Jake Hughes
3. Callum Ilott
4. Nikita Mazepin
5. Pedro Piquet
6. Antoine Hubert
7. Ryan Tveter
8. David Beckmann
9. Giuliano Alesi
10. Tatiana Calderon
11. Juan Manuel Correa
12. Simo Laaksonen
13. Gabriel Aubry
14. Niko Kari
15. Leonardo Pulcini
16. Julian Falchero
17. Richard Verschoor
18. Devlin DeFrancesco
19. Diego Manchaca
20. Jannes Fittje

Ahead of the Sprint Race, we found a delay. This was due to poor visibility between turns four and five so the pit stop open would be delayed for safety reasons. Beckmann is now to start from the pit lane after an issue with his car. Mawson makes a great get away, Hubert placing pressure on to Mazepin as Ilott heads down the inside line for second while Correa heads off the road in the back. Ilott holds second, pushing against Mawson who’s ahead. Hubert applies pressure to Piquet as he pushes for fifth place but its Beckmann who sits in the pit, unable to start. Alesi and Tveter battle for the position, colliding, leaving Alesi in sixth and Tveter now in eighth.

Tveter drops to ninth, promoting Pulcini to eighth as we head into lap two. Hughes has dropped to third behind Ilott but Ilott goes wide, taking him off of the track as he defends against Hughes but is unsuccessful as he leaves the track once more and drops to fourth, giving Hughes and Mazepin the positions. Into lap three, Hughes makes the move on Mawson in-between turn four and five, Mazepin using DRS to make the most of situation to demote Mawson once more and take second.

Ilott gains on Mawson while Hubert gains on Piquet to attempt the gain a position each. Mazepin makes the move on Hughes to take first while Ilott moves to take third. Hubert heads up to fifth, two places from the podium. Laaksonen and Menchaca come close as they battle for the position, pushing Laaksonen off of the track. Hubert closes down on Mawson as they come to the end of lap four, Hubert managing to overtake into lap five. ART now hold the top four positions on the grid.

An incident in turn 18 involving DeFrancesco is under investigation for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. Into lap seven, Mazepin is now two seconds clear of Hughes who sits in second, only 0.4 seconds ahead of Ilott who is catching with each lap. The incident between Laaksonen and Menchaca is now under investigation.

Ilott manages to make a move on Hughes, promoting him to second but the Australian driver of Joey Mawson who started on pole continues to plummet through the standings. Pulcini moves up to sixth with Alesi close behind in seventh. Mawson settles into eighth. DeFransecos investigation requires nothing further. Pulcini goes wide, an issue with his car dropping him to nineteenth and out of the points. Verschoor is now up to eighth behind Mawson but not for long as he makes a move to take seventh.

Menchaca receives a five second penalty for causing a collision. Hubert proceeds to make the move on Hughes to take third place and a chance for a second podium in Spa. Mawson goes on to reclaim seventh from Verschoor. With five laps to go, Mawson has four DRS’ to use, Hughes with three, Mazepin, Hubert and Alesi with two and Ilott with one.

Menchaca receives another five second penalty for forcing a driver off of the track. Verschoor is up ten positions to sit in seventh. Calderon makes a move on Kari, demoting him to 12th. Pulcini’s issue was due to a tear off in the radiator. Hubert applies pressure to Ilott who sits in second. Verschoor continues his battle with Mawson, after being demoted to eighth once again, and takes the inside line to head to seventh again.

With the final two laps to go, Mawson drops down the standings and out of the race alongside DeFrancesco. Calderon is now up to ninth and behind Tveter who finished second the day prior. Calderon makes the move on Tveter, failing to move up to eighth and put herself into the points. As we head into lap thirteen, the final lap, Calderon doesn’t manage to take the position and finishes just outside of the points in ninth. Nikita Mazepin claims the fastest lap with a 2:06.738.

The Sprint Race Results are:
1. Nikita Mazepin
2. Callum Ilott
3. Antoine Hubert
4. Jake Hughes
5. Pedro Piquet
6. Giuliano Alesi
7. Richard Verschoor
8. Ryan Tveter
9. Tatiana Calderon
10. Juan Manuel Correa
11. Gabriel Aubry
12. Niko Kari
13. Simo Laaksonen
14. Julien Falchero
15. Jannes Fittje
16. Diego Menchaca
17. Joey Mawson
DNF. Devlin DeFrancesco
DNF. Leonardo Pulcini
DNF. David Beckmann

Come back to the website on Wednesday for our next post! We’re filling our non race weekends with plenty of racing content! Friday’s, you will find a “Driver at a Glance” where we’ll give you an over view of a current driver in Formula 2, 3 or E. Monday’s, you will find an “This time in…” where we will look back at what happened during this time in the past so you can reminisce on all of the brilliant racing we once witnessed. Wednesdays, you will find a “Where are they now” where we look back at drivers we once watched and look at what they’re doing now since leaving Formula 2, 3 and E.

For our “Where are they now” this coming Wednesday, we’ll be looking at where a driver who now competes in Formula 1 has been doing. Can you guess who it could be? Join us Wednesday to find out as we prepare for our return to Spa for the Belgium Grand Prix.

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