By The1nsider 4 months ago




In a season of more downs than ups, Niko Kari was able to finish his 2017 campaign on a high: quickest in free practice, the Arden ace qualified 3rd (his best result of the year) to take the lead at the start. He then drove a mature race to pocket a first and well-deserved win. The next day, he crossed the line in sixth but it was later found that he had caused a collision with teammate Steijn Schothorst and thus was handed a 10s time penalty. He eventually classified P11 and secured tenth place in the Drivers’ Standings.


Our Champion has been a busy little bee in Abu Dhabi: he started Friday morning with GP3 free practice before jumping straight after into the Sahara Force India car for FP1. He barely had the time to debrief with the F1 team then he had to sprint to his ART machine just as the pitlane opened for Qualifying. But he made it look all too easy after he snatched pole position – his fourth of the season, three tenths quicker than Leonardo Pulcini in P2. The next day, he was a bit frustrated to finish P2, but he scored some more points on Sunday with P4 for his last GP3 race.


All throughout the season, the Frenchman proved he had the speed, having never qualified below P7. But he could never quite transform that strength into a race win. In Abu Dhabi, the Trident rookie set the second fastest laptime in free practice and then qualified seventh, and finished Race 1 in the same position. On Sunday, from P2 on the reverse grid, he stayed in that position into turn 1 behind teammate Ryan Tveter. He was later able to pass the American driver to sprint to a maiden GP3 win.


It was a challenging weekend for third time GP3 race winner Giuliano Alesi at Yas Marina: struggling to find pace, the Frenchman qualified to a lowly P16. On lap 2 of Race 1, contact with Nirei Fukuzumi damaged Alesi’s front wing, forcing him to pit for a new nose. The Trident driver pitted again on Lap 5, and eventually stopped at turn 20 on lap 10. Starting from the back of the grid on Sunday, Alesi carved his way up to P11 on the line. He eventually classified tenth following a time penalty picked up by Niko Kari. Still, it was a strong season for Alesi, who finished fifth in the Drivers’ Standings.


We were promised a great battle for second in the Series Standings. Unfortunately, teammates and rivals Jack Aitken and Nirei Fukuzumi never really had the pace to take their fight to the front of the field. The Japanese driver looked stronger than the Briton after he qualified P6, but he messed up his start and dropped down the order. He then made a small contact with Giuliano Alesi, and was unable to move up the field, classifying P15. He crossed the line on Sunday one place higher, but nowhere near his 2017 standards. The Honda protégé was still pleased on Sunday night to take home a trophy for third place in the Drivers’ Standings. It was a disappointing weekend for Aitken too: the Renault development driver lacked pace in free practice, qualifying and Race 1, where he took P14 at the flag. In Race 2, he finished tenth on the line but classified P8 following time penalties handed to Niko Kari and Bruno Baptista. Aitken’s cheeky smile returned at the Prize Giving Ceremony, when he was awarded the trophy for 2017 Runner Up.


  ISSUE 114 GP3
this post was shared 0 times