Hughes ends Day 1 at Le Castellet on top

Jake Hughes
Jake Hughes

Jake Hughes was fastest overall in the first GP3 test session of 2018, setting a best lap of 1:49.456 to beat ART Grand Prix teammate Nikita Mazepin and Niko Kari of MP Motorsport to the top of the timesheets.

The day was greeted with a mixture of early snowfall and drizzle, and the teams spent the first hour of the session completing their customary installation laps in the wet. New team MP Motorsport were quickest out of the blocks, as Kari took to the circuit first and was shortly followed out by team-mates Dorian Boccolacci and Leonard Hoogenboom.

Following the flurry of activity in the opening hour, the teams waited for warmer conditions at the Circuit Paul Ricard before returning to the track for their first flying runs, Juan Manuel Correa of Jenzer Motorsport eventually breaking the stalemate after half an hour.

As the sun came out, the times quickly began to tumble. With 15 minutes left on the clock, Trident’s Alessio Lorandi broke into the 2:00s before Hubert eclipsed the field with the first laptime below the two minute mark, ending the morning on top of the timesheets. At the end of the morning session, Lorandi and Alesi were second and third, followed by Trident stablemate Pedro Piquet.

Mazepin went into the break fifth fastest, ahead of Tatiana Calderon (Jenzer Motorsport) and Hughes, while Boccolacci, Leonardo Pulcini (Campos) and Joey Mawson (Arden) completed the initial top 10.

With the afternoon’s track conditions much clearer compared to the morning’s running, the drivers were lapping far quicker than they had managed earlier in the day.

The circuit was buzzing with activity in the opening 30 minutes – Jenzer’s David Beckmann first to break ground – as all the teams sought to maximize their time on-track. Hubert immediately picked up from where he left off in the morning to set the early pace, heading fellow ART teammates Mazepin, Callum Ilott and Hughes after half an hour.

Newcomer Mawson leapfrogged the ARTs at the hour mark, becoming the first driver to drop into the 1m50s laptimes, before Hubert once again returned to the top of the timesheets half-way through the session.

The circuit was quiet at the midpoint of the session as the teams geared up for the final hour of the session. A number of drivers traded fastest times, with Boccolacci first to set a lap in the 1m49s bracket before being displaced by Hubert and Pulcini.

Hughes then surged to the top of the standings with 15 minutes remaining, jumping ahead of teammate Mazepin, and remained unchallenged for the rest of the session. Kari beat Pulcini to third fastest, while Hubert dropped to fifth overall.

Boccolacci was sixth fastest, ahead of Gabriel Aubry (Arden), while Trident trio Lorandi, Ryan Tveter and Piquet completed the top 10.

Day 1 Morning Results

Pos Driver Team Laptime Laps
1 Anthoine Hubert ART Grand Prix 1:59.549 21
2 Alessio Lorandi Trident 1:59.799 19
3 Giuliano Alesi Trident 1:59.996 19
4 Pedro Piquet Trident 2:00.391 16
5 Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix 2:00.539 19
6 Tatiana Calderon Jenzer Motorsport 2:00.548 27
7 Jake Hughes ART Grand Prix 2:00.554 18
8 Dorian Boccolacci MP Motorsport 2:00.569 17
9 Leonardo Pulcini Campos Racing 2:00.621 15
10 Joey Mawson Arden International 2:00.822 20
11 Simo Laaksonen Campos Racing 2:00.957 28
12 Ryan Tveter Trident 2:01.005 19
13 Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer Motorsport 2:01.342 20
14 Niko Kari MP Motorsport 2:01.630 9
15 Leonard Hoogenboom MP Motorsport 2:02.103 18
16 David Beckmann Jenzer Motorsport 2:03.042 17
17 Diego Menchaca Campos Racing 2:03.490 15
18 Callum Ilott ART Grand Prix 2:03.508 8
19 Gabriel Aubry Arden International 2:03.752 13
20 Julien Falchero Arden International 2:03.969 12

Day 1 Afternoon Results

Pos Driver Team Laptime Laps
1 Jake Hughes ART Grand Prix 1:49.456 39
2 Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix 1:49.563 41
3 Niko Kari MP Motorsport 1:49.575 41
4 Leonardo Pulcini Campos Racing 1:49.599 35
5 Anthoine Hubert ART Grand Prix 1:49.786 39
6 Dorian Boccolacci MP Motorsport 1:49.846 36
7 Gabriel Aubry Arden International 1:50.003 39
8 Alessio Lorandi Trident 1:50.197 35
9 Ryan Tveter Trident 1:50.267 37
10 Pedro Piquet Trident 1:50.335 37
11 Joey Mawson Arden International 1:50.528 32
12 Tatiana Calderon Jenzer Motorsport 1:50.568 41
13 Simo Laaksonen Campos Racing 1:50.653 42
14 Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer Motorsport 1:50.706 43
15 David Beckmann Jenzer Motorsport 1.50.928 38
16 Julien Falchero Arden International 1:50.943 25
17 Giuliano Alesi Trident 1:51.264 41
18 Leonard Hoogenboom MP Motorsport 1:51.849 31
19 Diego Menchaca Campos Racing 1:51.888 37
20 Callum Ilott ART Grand Prix 1:52.117 19

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