An unbelievable start and opening lap from Italian Luca Ghiotto: The Trident ace started from P6 on the grid after a poor qualifying by his exceptionally high standards, but by Turn One, the Series leader was up to second. He then pulled off a stunning move on title rival Esteban Ocon at Turn 13 for the lead of the race. The ART Grand Prix and Mercedes backed rookie finished 1.5s behind Ghiotto with Arden International’s Emil Bernstorff in third.

Ocon started from his first pole of the 2015 GP3 Series season with Jenzer Motorsport’s Matheo Tuscher starting from a career best second. The Frenchman made one of his traditional lightning getaway’s but unfortunately the Swiss alongside him bogged down and was very slow to get away. The same occurred for Kevin Ceccon starting from P3.

Charging through at the start was Ghiotto and Bernstorff, who from P6 and P7 respectively were up to second and third in the opening few turns. Ocon barely had time to look in his mirrors before he saw the Series leader hunting him down and at Turn 13, a place not normally known for passing; the Italian produced a fantastic manoeuvre on his French rival to snatch the lead.

The safety car was deployed following a final turn incident between Aleksander Bosak and Kevin Ceccon, putting both cars out of the cars. Two laps later, the safety car came in and the action resumed. At the re-start Carlin’s Jann Mardenborough passed his teammate and Ferrari Academy Driver Antonio Fuoco for P5. At this point, Ghiotto held a small margin of 0.6s over Ocon as the laps ticked down.

Title contender Marvin Kirchhöfer had qualified down in P16 and the German was busy carving his way through the pack. The ART Grand Prix star managed to get up to ninth but was unable to join the battle for reverse pole, running out of laps.

Meanwhile at the front, Ghiotto was busy posting fastest laps, extending his advantage at the front to 1.3s over Ocon. Campos Racing’s Alex Palou was on the rear of Bernstoff’s machine, eager to find his way onto the podium, whilst Ocon had a small moment running wide but he was able to maintain his second place.

In the closing stages, Mardenborough began to reel in Palou for fourth. The battle was on between the two Koiranen GP teammates of Matthew Parry in seventh and Jimmy Eriksson in eighth: the two locked in combat, but it was the Brit who edged out the Swede at the chequered flag.

On the penultimate lap, Ocon clocked the fastest lap of the race to earn himself two bonus points in the battle for the elusive GP3 crown. Ghiotto celebrated at the chequered flag, ahead of Ocon, Bernstorff, Palou, Mardenborough, Fuoco, Parry, Eriksson, Kirchhöfer and Artur Janosz.

Ghiotto now holds a 15 points advantage over Ocon, with Kirchhöfer and Bernstorff tied on third. ART Grand Prix continues to lead the Teams’ Standings on 341 points, ahead of Arden International and Trident.

Race 2 will commence at 11.30 am local time today with Eriksson starting from reverse pole.