A faultless driver form Nigel Melker earned him his first GP3 Series victory at Istanbul Park today.
Poleman Tom Dillmann got bogged down at the start of the race leaving Tech 1 Racing’s Andrea Caldarelli and RSC Mücke Motorsport’s Melker to pass off the line. The Frenchman managed to hang on to third despite Lotus ART’s Valtteri Bottas’s best efforts to spoil Dillmann’s start even further. It was at the end of lap 1 that Melker then made his move to take the lead, and seal his first GP3 Series victory.
Dillmann tried to grab back a spot from Caldarelli, but was unable to find a way past the Italian, and before long the Carlin driver found himself defending from a charging Bottas. After an earlier spin off the track MW Arden’s Lewis Williamson found himself down the field battling with Leonardo Cordeiro midway through the race: the two drivers were locked in a wheel-to-wheel battle, during which pair touched wheels, and both cars spun off the track resulting in a roll from Williamson when his car hit the gravel trap. The safety car was deployed.
At the restart Melker pulled away from second place man Caldarelli to give himself a few laps breathing space. For the remainder of the race the Tech 1 Racing driver slowly chipped away at Melker’s lead but was unable to get close enough until the last lap, as Melker had the race totally under control. Bottas was all over Dillmann’s back wing to the checkered flag, but was unable to find a way past and finished the race in fourth. Antonio Felix Da Costa finished fifth for Status Grand Prix, ahead of MW Arden’s Mitch Evans.
Dean Smith was set for reverse pole in Race 2 tomorrow, but the Addax Team driver went wide into the final complex allowing Michael Christensen to pass – the Dane then capitalized even further by passing Alexander Sims to take P7. Sims will start tomorrow’s race from pole position.
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