Nikita Mazepin secured his maiden single-seater pole position in a dramatic GP3 qualifying session, turning in a late lap to pip Leonardo Pulcini on home soil in Russia.

With darkness falling around the Sochi Autodrom, Force India Formula 1 development driver Mazepin found significant gains on a 1m52.569s - his effort ultimately proving good enough for pole by just 0.017s ahead of Pulcini.

The result has moved Mazepin into a clear second place in the drivers’ championship thanks to the additional four points on offer for pole, with the Russian reducing ART Grand Prix teammate Anthoine Hubert’s points lead down to 25.

Fellow ART stablemate Callum Ilott was another driver to improve in the closing moments of the 30-minute session as he secured third on the grid, ahead of Trident’s Giuliano Alesi and early session pacesetter Hubert.

Ryan Tveter posted the sixth-fastest time, ahead of Simo Laaksonen’s Campos machine, while Richard Verschoor scored his best qualifying result in the series in eighth place in his MP Motorsport car. 

Arden’s Joey Mawson and the final ART runner of Jake Hughes rounded out a top 10 covered by just 0.649s.

GP3 Russia full qualifying results 

COTA #2 - Tremendous Turn 1