Lando Norris lies third in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship after the latest three races this weekend (1-2 Jul) – the British teenager battling to a stunning, hard-earned victory on his Norisring début.
Lando also claimed 11th – having taken the chequered flag second – and third positions in his Carlin prepared Dallara-Volkswagen at the 1.43-mile German street venue. The McLaren-Honda Young Driver is just four-points off second-placed Joel Eriksson in the standings at the halfway stage in this year’s 30-race series and 38pts behind the championship leader Maximilian Günther.
Norris, who started the race weekend lying fourth in the championship, qualified second, fourth and sixth, has now achieved 10 front row starts, 10 podium placings – including three wins – and four fastest race laps in the 15-races run so far this year in what is Norris’ first full F3 season.
In a thrilling Race 1 on Saturday morning, the BRDC SuperStar started from the front row – for the 10th time this season – denied a fourth pole-position the previous day by a mere two-thousandths of a second in the dying moments. He was fourth at the first corner after a sluggish start, made up a place the following lap and was second on lap 19 after a Full Course Yellow. Starting lap 32, Lando attempted to overtake leader Hughes who defended approaching the Turn 1 hairpin. Hughes appeared to lose control of his car on the dusty inside of the track before Norris made slight contact, Hughes crashing out with Lando recovering in third. Norris took the chequered flag second six laps later but on the final lap was given a drive-through penalty, replaced by a 20secs time penalty, for the earlier incident relegating him to 11th place in the final classification.
Race 2 early this morning saw Norris start from the second row, damp patches remaining from overnight rain around the shortest track on the F3 calendar. Having briefly slipped to fifth on the second lap after a failed attempt to grab third, Lando decisively picked off his rivals and took second place on lap 22, 1.6secs adrift of the leader. A series of faster laps quickly brought Norris on to the tail of Ralf Aron, Lando spectacularly snatching the lead at the final corner six laps from home. He ultimately took the chequered flag 1.1secs ahead of the field after 42-laps following a mature, error-free drive.
Norris began the third and final race this afternoon from the third row of the grid and was up to fifth by lap 5 prior to two brief Full Course Yellows. He moved up to fourth on the 27th lap and snatched third three laps from home completing a noteworthy weekend for the youngster that featured many impressive overtaking manoeuvres. The championship reconvenes at Spa-Francorchamps over 28-29 July. Unlike Norisring, the famous 4.35-mile track will not be a new experience for Lando. Last year, he scored two outright wins, three fastest race laps plus three “poles” in the four Formula Renault races he contested at the Belgian venue.
Lando Norris (GB): Born: Bristol, England. Aged 17.
“It was good to get back on the top step of the podium and to get third place in the final race. I just missed out on ‘pole’ but was reasonably happy getting on the front row for Race 1 especially after Hungary which were the first races this season I hadn’t started from the front. We made changes to the car after practice while I also drove better in qualifying. Saturday morning’s race was largely fun but obviously ended in disappointment. I had good pace, overtook a few guys, and closed in on Jake [Hughes]. I attempted a move on him into Turn 1, we were both on the inside and it was really bumpy and dirty. He braked and lost the rear of the car. I braked at the same point but had no downforce as I was so close behind him. I momentarily locked up, tapped him very lightly which spun him off. It was my fault and so on that basis deserved the penalty. The second race was tough but very enjoyable. It’s not a particularly easy track to overtake on, especially if someone is defending well, so to win from P5 after some good battles was very satisfying. It was difficult coming through from P7 to P3 in the final race but I had good pace again.”