Leonardo Pulcini controlled proceedings in the opening GP3 race of the weekend in Russia to claim his maiden victory in the series.

The Campos driver started from pole position - after Nikita Mazepin was stripped of his first-ever single seater pole for track limits abuse – and pulled clear of the field to score a convincing win.

He crossed the line four seconds clear of Mazepin, who charged from eighth on the grid to take second, passing championship leader Anthoine Hubert on the final lap to reduce his ART Grand Prix teammate’s points advantage down to 26.

The Russian’s recovery drive featured some questionable overtaking manoeuvres, including gaining three places by running wide in avoidance at Turn 2 on the opening lap.

Hubert had looked comfortable in second place but came under late pressure as he lost the position to Mazepin, though he managed to hold off the advances of Richard Verschoor to complete the podium. The result ensured ART secured a fourth consecutive teams' title and its eighth championship crown in total. 

David Beckmann turned in a remarkable drive to scythe his way from 15th to fifth, ahead of Simo Laaksonen’s Campos, Jake Hughes and Joey Mawson, who claimed reverse grid pole for Race 2 thanks to his eighth-place finish.

Jenzer pair Juan Manuel Correa and Tatiana Calderon rounded out the top 10, with the Colombian pipping Arden’s Gabriel Aubry to the final point.

It was a nightmare race for Callum Ilott, who plummented down the order to 13th, a result which sees him fall 44 points behind Hubert and all but ends his fading championship hopes.

GP3 Russia Race 1 Full Results 

COTA #2 - Tremendous Turn 1