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Bottas takes commanding GP3 victory in Spa
Bottas waves to crowd
Valtteri Bottas stamped his authority on the 2011 GP3 Series once again this afternoon with a commanding win in Race 1. The Finn finished 6.495 seconds ahead of his teammate and pole sitter James Calado to lead a Lotus ART 1-2.

When the lights went out Bottas pulled away well to snatch the lead of the 12-lap race from Calado. Behind the ART duo Marussia Manor Racing’s Adrian Quaife-Hobbs put a move on Melker exiting La Source hairpin to take third, and the Series contenders then entered into a furious battle for the final podium spot. Title contender Alexander Sims made a storming start moving up from sixteenth to ninth by the end of lap one.

Bottas was soon under control of the race at the front, and was simply too quick paced for teammate Calado to hang on. The Finn put in fastest laps to build up an eight second lead by midway through the race. Meanwhile the battle for the final podium spot between Quaife-Hobbs and Melker had been resolved with the RSC Mücke Motorsport driver finally taking the honors.

With five laps remaining Sims was pushing American Conor Daly hard for fifth, but a clash between the Status and Carlin drivers at Blanchimont ended in tears for Sims who then dropped down the field and out of the points with steering issues.

Speaking about his race, Daly said, “I made a good start compared to the wet starts I’ve made recently! I was fighting with Yelloly pretty much straight away but I backed off a little going into Eau Rouge as I didn’t want us to make contact. I got him on the next section though and then just concentrated on staying on track.

“Then I had Sims behind me and I really want to keep my position. It could see him behind me at one point, and then he started to spin and just tapped me as he went off. Thankfully I was able to continue and take our best ever GP3 finish. It’s a great result for the team; we’ve all been working so hard and it’s great to see things coming together. It’s great that we have a fourth place grid position tomorrow as well with another chance of a good result.”

By the checkered flag Calado had pulled back the gap to Bottas, but it was too little too late and the Finn celebrated his third win of the season. Melker completed the podium ahead of Quaife-Hobbs, Daly, Tom Dillmann, Nico Müller and Richie Stanaway who finished in a fantastic eighth spot on his GP3 debut. The New Zealander will start on reverse pole for tomorrow’s race, and ensured that Lotus ART had all three drivers in the points. 

Bottas still leads the GP3 Series driver standings and is now eleven points ahead of his teammate Calado.

GP3 Series will be back on track tomorrow morning for Race 2 at 09:20 local time.

Race 1 results:

1 2 V. BOTTAS FIN Lotus ART 12 31:02.902 0.000
2 3 J. CALADO GBR Lotus ART 12 31:09.397 6.495
3 31 N. MELKER NED RSC Mucke Motorsport 12 31:16.881 13.979
4 10 A. QUAIFE-HOBBS GBR Marussia Manor Racing 12 31:24.019 21.117
5 14 C. DALY USA Carlin 12 31:27.817 24.915
6 23 T. DILLMANN FRA Addax Team 12 31:37.240 34.338
7 7 N. MULLER SUI Jenzer Motorsport 12 31:43.800 40.898
8 1 R. STANAWAY NZL Lotus ART 12 31:46.485 43.583
9 28 L. WILLIAMSON GBR MW Arden 12 31:48.232 45.330
10 6 I. LUKASHEVICH RUS Status Grand Prix 12 31:53.771 50.869
11 26 M. EVANS NZL MW Arden 12 31:54.440 51.538
12 11 R. HARYANTO INA Marussia Manor Racing 12 31:56.691 53.789
13 17 A. VAINIO FIN Tech 1 Racing 12 32:04.422 61.520
14 9 A. FONTANA SUI Jenzer Motorsport 12 32:08.032 65.130
15 30 M. CHRISTENSEN DEN RSC Mucke Motorsport 12 32:09.498 66.596
16 24 G. CHAVES COL Addax Team 12 32:12.097 69.195
17 19 T.PAL KISS HUN Tech 1 Racing 12 32:16.450 73.548
18 12 M. LAINE FIN Marussia Manor Racing 12 32:16.926 74.024
19 27 S. TRUMMER SUI MW Arden 12 32:17.890 74.988
20 25 D. SMITH GBR Addax Team 12 32:23.719 80.817
21 16 L. CORDEIRO BRA Carlin 12 32:30.420 87.518
22 18 T. HYLKEMA NED Tech 1 Racing 12 32:51.989 109.087
23 4 A. SIMS GBR Status Grand Prix 9 23:56.467 DNF
24 8 M. ZIMIN RUS Jenzer Motorsport 9 24:45.837 DNF
25 20 M. STOCKINGER PHI Atech CRS GP 6 16:24.320 DNF
26 29 D. MANCINELLI ITA RSC Mucke Motorsport 3 10:13.530 DNF
27 5 A. FELIX DA COSTA POR Status Grand Prix 1 2:59.914 DNF
28 15 C. MACLEOD GBR Carlin 1 4:35.992 DNF
29 21 N. YELLOLY GBR Atech CRS GP 0 - DNF
30 22 Z. AMBERG SUI Atech CRS GP 0 - DNF
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