Nico Muller dominates to take first GP3 win Jenzer Motorsport driver Nico Muller claimed his first GP3 victory at the Valencia Street Circuit today after a dominant race win from the front row of the grid. Muller made the perfect start streaking past pole sitter Manor Racing’s James Jakes to take the lead into turn one. The Swiss driver pulled away and never looked back, eventually finishing 3.2 seconds ahead of second place man Atech CRS GP Roberto Merhi, and moving him up the Series standings to fourth with 14 points. Pole sitter Jakes had a less than perfect start today, and by the end of lap one the Brit had been passed by his teammate Rio Haryanto. To make matters worse Jakes then found himself defending from a racy Merhi in his #29 Atech car.
Lap one ended in disaster for Series points leader Esteban Gutiérrez and Robert Wickens. The ART Grand Prix and Status GP racers were locked in battle from the word go, but an overly aggressive move by the Canadian sent Gutiérrez spinning off the track. The Mexican recovered well, but found himself at the back of the grid behind teammate Pedro Nunes. Wickens was soon handed a drive through penalty. Back at the front Jakes and Haryanto continued to swap places with Jakes eventually getting the better of his teammate. Indonesian Haryanto then lost a second spot in quick succession when charging local man Merhi slipped past. The impressive Spaniard then went on to take Jakes for second, and his second podium of the weekend at only his first ever GP3 Series race weekend.
It was status quo at the front with Muller leading to the checkered flag. Jakes held off teammate Haryanto for the final podium spot, and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs finished in fifth spot rounding off a perfect points finish for Manor Racing. Stefano Coletti and Tobias Hegewald fought for the final point of the race. The Tech 1 Racing man hounded the RSC Mucke driver, who eventually succumbed to the pressure and his #12 car ended up in the barrier. Wickens rounded out his day with a bit more contact, this time with RSC Mucke driver Nigel Melker. The Status GP driver eventually finished out of the points in sixteenth.
Gutiérrez recovered well but just missed out on a points position finishing in seventh spot. The Mexican still leads the Series by 16 points. Wickens’ race went from bad to worse when the Canadian punted off teammate Ivan Lukashevich, but Status GP driver has held on to this second place in the standings with 19 points heading to Silverstone. ART’s Alexander Rossi is third with 17 points after a dismal weekend for the American driver.
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