By The1nsider 2 months ago




In a season of highs and lows, Leonardo came to Sochi fresh from a very disappointing weekend at home in Italy, but the Campos driver’s natural speed meant he was able to take P2 in the Qualifying session. When the paddock was abuzz with a possible penalty for then-quickest man Nikita Mazepin, Pulcini was almost certain he was going to be awarded with a second pole position this season. The verdict dropped and Leonardo was given the four points for pole and the top spot on the Race 1 grid. On Saturday, he made a perfect getaway and remained comfortably ahead of the rest of the pack to grab a maiden GP3 win. It was his team’s first victory since Spielberg Race 2 in 2017! On Sunday, Leonardo didn’t have the chance to display his usual speed, but he still scored one more point with eighth place to move up fourth in the Drivers’ Standings – 16 points behind Callum Ilott.


It’s hard not to vote for David Beckmann as the driver on top form in the second half of the season. Ever since the German switched to Trident, he has been fighting at the front and has been one of the top scorers on a regular basis. The start of his Russian weekend was a bit alarming; he had problems in free practice and an engine failure in the qualifying session. Starting from P15 in Race 1, David bounced back in style – crossing the line in fifth position. The next day, he slotted into P2 on Lap 2 and put huge pressure on race leader Joey Mawson. Unable to pass the Arden man, he bided his time until the final lap; following a VSC re-start, Beckmann closed in on Mawson and made good use of his final DRS try to steal victory from the Australian driver at Turn 13!

The Trident ace took his third win of the season, brilliantly recovering from a disastrous start to his race weekend. He pocketed 27 points at the Sochi Autodrom to move ahead of Pedro Piquet in the Drivers’ Standings. He now lies in fifth place – 12 points behind Leonardo Pulcini.


The Series leader was mathematically within reach of sealing the title at Sochi, but the race weekend did not unfold quite as flawlessly as he had hoped. He started Race 1 in P4 – his second lowest qualifying result of the season – and from there he worked hard to try and challenge Pulcini for the win. Unfortunately, he was unable to match the Italian’s pace. The tyre degradation was higher than he anticipated and in the dying stages of the race, Hubert saw title rival Nikita Mazepin closing in on him. He relinquished second place to the Russian driver on Lap 19 and crossed the line in third, thus claiming his seventh podium finish in the past ten races.

He added more points to his tally with fourth place in Race 2 to score a total of 23 points – 3 more than Mazepin and hence extended his Series lead to 32 points ahead of the final round of the season.


If you only look at the Drivers’ Standings you may wonder why Nikita is featured so low on this page. The mighty Russian scored 20 points and together with teammate Anthoine Hubert, they are now the only two 2018 title challengers. However, Nikita cannot be entirely satisfied with his race weekend on home soil: quickest in the Qualifying session, it was found he had exceeded the track limits on his fastest lap. Thus, he was stripped from pole and had to settle for eighth on the Race 1 grid, but he dug deep and charged all the way to second to finish just ahead of his rival Hubert. The next day, he was on his way to some more precious points but he was a bit too eager in the final stages: the ART ace was a bit too quick ahead of Turn 13. He missed his braking and ended his course in the tyre barrier… He is now facing a 32 point gap to Hubert in the Drivers’ Standings with only one round left and a maximum of 48 points to grab.


Apart from Friday – where Giuliano finished 4th in Free Practice and 3rd in Qualifying – the rest of the Frenchman’s weekend at Sochi has been a nightmare: contact with Jake Hughes in the early stages meant he was handed with a drive-through penalty. It ruined the rest of his Russian weekend, and the Trident driver left Round 8 with zero points and a lot of regrets. He will be looking for better fortune at the Yas Marina Circuit in November.


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