The second GP3 race served as a curtain-raiser at Spanish Grand Prix, which will continue today with the FIA Formula 2 race and culminate with the fifth Formula 1 round of the season. Overnight spells dampened the tarmac for the GP3 Sprint Race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. In fact, a light drizzle misted the green lights at the kick off, and was still present in the early stages of the race. Trident’s Giuliano Alesi had the best hand at capitalizing the tricky conditions, and drove to victory under the ecstatic gaze of his father and former F1 driver Jean Alesi.
Another Frenchaman, Anthoine Hubert (ART Grand Prix) went back to the same step of the podium he had visited after race 1, and now tops the championship standings. Jake Hughes’ dazzling performance granted him a well-deserved third for ART Gran Prix. The team fell slightly short of their overwhelming Saturday sweep and this time yielded the top spot of the podium to Trident.
Alesi started the race from P2 (he finished 7th in yesterday’s race, and the top 8 drivers start Sunday’s race in reverse order). He quickly disposed of polesitter Juan Manuel Correa (Jenner Motorsport) and snatched a lead he would keep to the finish line, immune to the three safety cars that were called in.
Once he lost the lead to Alesi, Correa fended off team mate David Beckmann’s initial attacks but then caved in to Hubert’s charge in Turn 12. A bit later, Leonardo Pulcini (Campos Racing) touched Beckmann’s car. The German ended off the track and dropped way down in the timesheets.
Hughes made a fantastic start from P13 and stormed through the field to reach fourth place. In lap 10, he overhauled Correa and fled to third place. The American had to settle for fourth.
Cars lined up behind the safety car for several laps after Tatiana Calderón had an off in Turn 5. Both the Colombian and team mate Beckmann had just switched to slicks. Their team made a risky call to help them move up the ranks, but the tarmac was not dry enough for slicks, and they both ended in the gravel in the same corner. Calderón, unfortunately, did not make it back on the track.
Only Will Palmer (MP Motorsport) bolted on slick tyres from the start, but he had to wait to the dying minutes of the race to juice them out. He finished 13th overall.
When the safety car leash was eventually removed, cars went all out for a heart-stopping final lap.