Lando Norris gave himself a huge points gain in the first race of the Formula 3 European Championship round at the Nurburgring by dominating in the wet.

While McLaren-Honda protege Norris sped his Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen to a 17.562-second victory, closest championship rival Maximilian Gunther finished out of the points after a first-lap incident.

Norris made "an average start", but front-row partner Jake Hughes got wheelspin as he booted the throttle and dropped to fourth behind Prema Powerteam pair Callum Ilott and Gunther.

Gunther lost out in the early jostling, and then Hughes moved his Hitech GP car ahead of Ilott into second through the stadium section at the beginning of lap two.

By this stage Norris already had a large lead, and he was able to maintain that gap as two separate incidents during the race resulted in the use of the full-course yellow rather than the safety car - Hughes losing a couple of seconds during the second FCY.

Norris lost some time with a wild moment at Turn 2 on the eighth lap, while Hughes also ceded ground when he understeered wide at Turn 5 after the first FCY.

With the British pair well clear up front, attention turned to a frantic battle for third.

Joey Mawson, from eighth on the grid, had passed Ilott for the position on lap five, and Ilott lost further ground when he outbraked himself at Turn 1, having to fend off Tadasuke Makino as he rejoined.

Ilott was closing back in on Mawson's Van Amersfoort Racing machine when the Australian's team-mate Pedro Piquet crashed at the Turn 5 hairpin, triggering the second FCY and cuasing Mawson to lose time.

A couple of attempts into Turn 1 by Ilott preceded a wheelbanging moment into the chicane with just over two laps to go, Ilott shooting down the escape road.

Ilott nosed in front at the same spot on the penultimate lap, but Mawson stayed with him and, as they emerged side by side, Makino got a run and passed Ilott into the final turn.

While Mawson took his maiden F3 podium, Hitech-run Honda junior Makino, still recovering from a broken wrist, finished fourth for his best Euro F3 result, chased by Ilott and Carlin duo Ferdinand Habsburg and Jehan Daruvala.

Max Defourny was running eighth on his F3 debut when he ran into the gravel at the last corner as the second FCY ended, promoting battling Prema pair Mick Schumacher and Guan Yu Zhou.

The struggling Joel Eriksson also passed Defourny to claim the final point in his Motopark car, although VAR-run Defourny then set the fastest lap of the race on the final tour.

The weekend's other star debutant, second-row qualifier Sacha Fenestraz, tapped Nikita Mazepin as they fought for fourth at the beginning of lap three, sending Mazepin spearing off the track and into the Turn 1 barriers and causing the first FCY.

Fenestraz had to pit for a new front wing, as did Gunther, who had clipped the haif-spinning Ralf Aron at the chicane on lap one.

Published
9:54 pm
Saturday
09
September 2017
from