Sepang GP3: Albon grabs Race 1 victory as De Vries hits Leclerc

Alex Albon won the GP3 feature race at Sepang and gained 12 points on championship leader Charles Leclerc, who was hit by Nyck de Vries on the opening lap.

Sepang GP3: Albon grabs Race 1 victory as De Vries hits Leclerc
Alexander Albon, ART Grand Prix
Alexander Albon, ART Grand Prix
Alexander Albon, ART Grand Prix
Jack Aitken, Arden International
Jack Aitken, Arden International
Jack Aitken, Arden International
Charles Leclerc, ART Grand Prix
Artur Janosz, Trident
Arjun Maini, Jenzer Motorsport
Matthew Parry, Koiranen GP
Matevos Isaakyan, Koiranen GP

Starting on the front row, Albon had a better getaway than Leclerc to lead into Turn 1 with the latter just holding off De Vries.

The championship leader then lost further places at the next braking point as he was nudged by the late-braking De Vries, the Dutchman coming very close to touch Albon as well.

Leclerc ran wide as a result and had to let both Jack Aitken and Arjun Maini past while De Vries dropped outside the top 10.

He crossed the line 11th but received a five-second time penalty to lose further places.

Leclerc quickly recovered a position by overtaking Maini at Turn 5 and then spent the first half of the race catching up with Albon and Aitken as the duo had already pulled away from the rest by then.

Aitken even put some pressure on Albon initially including having a look at the final corner but soon started to lose time, allowing Leclerc to close in on him.

Leclerc spent the late stages less than a second behind Aitken and made a move at Turn 1 on the penultimate lap but the Briton did not put a foot wrong and kept the spot.

Albon cruised to cross the line first with Aitken taking second, somewhat relieved of pressure on the final lap as Leclerc had to turn his attention to the quickly-charging Maini.

Maini caught up with Leclerc but had no time to attempt an overtake and settled for fourth.

Campos Racing's Steijn Schothorst held off Jake Dennis for fifth, the Briton managing to steal sixth from Nirei Fukuzumi earlier on.

Antonio Fuoco, the only non-ART driver left in title contention, will start tomorrow's sprint race from pole, having taken eighth from 11th.

Koiranen's Matt Parry and Trident's Sandy Stuvik secured the final two pointscoring finishes.

 Feature race results:

ClaDriverTeamLapsTimeGap
1 Alexander Albon ART Grand Prix 19 35'43.959  
2 Jack Aitken Arden International 19 35'50.356 6.397
3 Charles Leclerc ART Grand Prix 19 35'51.125 7.166
4 Arjun Maini Jenzer Motorsport 19 35'51.705 7.746
5 Steijn Schothorst Campos Racing 19 36'02.639 18.680
6 Jake Dennis Arden International 19 36'03.503 19.544
7 Nirei Fukuzumi ART Grand Prix 19 36'04.332 20.373
8 Antonio Fuoco Trident 19 36'05.920 21.961
9 Matthew Parry Koiranen GP 19 36'08.352 24.393
10 Sandy Stuvik Trident 19 36'09.284 25.325
11 Alessio Lorandi Jenzer Motorsport 19 36'09.964 26.005
12 Kevin Joerg DAMS 19 36'10.908 26.949
13 Nyck de Vries ART Grand Prix 19 36'12.130 28.171
14 Alex Palou Campos Racing 19 36'17.232 33.273
15 Matevos Isaakyan Koiranen GP 19 36'19.514 35.555
16 Giuliano Alesi Trident 19 36'21.227 37.268
17 Konstantin Tereshchenko Campos Racing 19 36'32.238 48.279
  Santino Ferrucci DAMS 11 27'26.979 8 laps
  Akash Nandy Jenzer Motorsport 2 4'55.237 17 laps
  Artur Janosz Trident 1 2'16.449 18 laps
  Tatiana Calderon Arden International 0    
  Jake Hughes DAMS 0    
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