With a third place finish in the GP3 sprint race, Esteban Ocon becomes the first Frenchman to take the title in the series’ 100th race, fending off Trident’s Luca Ghiotto who led the drivers’ standings for the majority of the season. For Campos Racing’s Alex Palou, it was a maiden victory coming from reverse grid pole – Antonio Fuoco unable to best the Spaniard but takes home his second podium of the year.

The drama started the instant the 5 red lights went out. Matt Parry had a poor start, allowing the surging Ocon to lunge for a gap inside him and Ghiotto. It was a move that so very nearly ended in disaster for both championship rivals: Ghiotto lost a winglet (which could’ve easily been the front wing) as Ocon got squeezed into him, and Ocon himself banged wheels with Parry around turn 1, forcing the Welshman to take to the run off area. Up at the front Palou sailed away from any danger, Fuoco in tow a second behind.

Thanks to the contact Ghiotto dropped as low as 6th, hampering his chance to wear down Ocon while the racing was at its most frantic. With yesterday’s winner Kirchhöfer locking up and running wide in turn 17, the slightly damaged Koiranen of Parry was easily dispatched by the Trident driver, and while Parry pitted Ghiotto set about catching Ocon.

Further down the field Kevin Ceccon had wrestled himself up to 10th from P22 on the grid, executing some masterful overtakes on his way. Another fine pass came from Boschung, around the outside of Isaakyan into turn 1 proved that no matter where you looked down the field, racing was close and hard fought.

Try as he did, Ghiotto couldn’t get close enough to Ocon to pass him, falling back into the clutches of Eriksson, who again was unable to pass due to the nature of the circuit. 3.8 seconds ahead, Palou entered the final lap looking certain for the win, and the podium looked cemented behind him. It was a maiden win for Alex Palou, a slow start to the season not holding him back and he takes his first GP3 race victory. For ART the day has begun in a jubilant fashion, as Ocon crossed the line in 3rd place, outscoring Ghiotto and confirming his GP3 title – ART now have the teams’ and drivers’ championships for 2015 in both GP2 and GP3. Finishing in P4 was only enough to become 2015 vice champion for Luca Ghiotto, which is understandably disappointing for him and his team despite Trident securing P2 in the team championship: their highest ever finish.

For Esteban Ocon, today demonstrates why Mercedes have kept him in their young driver program, having stepped up from winning the FIA F3 European championship last year to GP3 this year, the future is bright for this young man. Congratulations to him and ART for their successes this year, and of course to Ghiotto and Trident for putting up such a strong fight.