Formula 3 European Championship leader Lando Norris kept Jake Hughes at bay to win a tense final race of the weekend at the Nurburgring.

The victory means that McLaren-Honda protege Norris now holds a 73-point advantage over nearest rival Maximilian Gunther with 150 still on the table, Gunther at least mitigating the disaster of Saturday qualifying by finishing a fighting seventh in race three.

Poleman Callum Ilott got the lead at the start from Norris, but the safety car was soon called out.

Ferdinand Habsburg, who was sixth as they sprinted away from the line, locked up and tapped Guan Yu Zhou into a spin at Turn 1, Habsburg careering into the gravel with broken suspension and Zhou stuck in an otherwise undamaged car.

Ferrari junior Zhou even stayed aboard his car as it was winched away.

Ilott made a good restart but the Prema Powerteam ace had no answer to Norris, who looked around the outside of Turns 1 and 2 before slipping down the inside at Turn 3.

Norris then had to run wide at Turn 4 to keep Ilott, who had stuck his nose back up the inside, at bay.

Hughes in third immediately moved in to attack Ilott, and pulled off a great move around the outside of Turn 1, with Hitech GP team-mate Ralf Aron also slipping past Ilott at Turn 4.

By the end of the lap Hughes had a 0.826-second deficit to Norris, but the Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen inched away so that he was more than 1.5s to the good with a third of the race to go.

Hughes took a little bit out of the gap over the next few laps, before bringing it down to within a second with two laps remaining - this coincided with yellow flags at Turn 1, with Joey Mawson's front wing laying on the track after he'd crunched into David Beckmann in a late dive.

Norris finally crossed the line 0.794s to the good over Hughes, the duo monopolising first and second places all weekend.

"Jake was pressuring me quite a bit and I wasn't totally comfortable," admitted Norris.

Behind Aron and Ilott in third and fourth respectively, Jehan Daruvala was close at hand in his Carlin machine to take fifth.

Some way adrift of the leading quintet, Van Amersfoort Racing's Harrison Newey did a terrific job to fend off Gunther and Joel Eriksson for sixth.

Both Gunther and Eriksson made up several places at the start during the first-lap mayhem, and Gunther fought off Eriksson's Motopark car in a juicy encounter through the Mercedes Arena with four laps to go.

Max Defourny (VAR) completed an impressive debut weekend in F3 by claiming points for ninth from Hitech's Nikita Mazepin.

Mazepin was on the back of the Newey-Gunther-Eriksson train until he went off at Turn 7, Defourny having to take to the grass to pass him.

Tadasuke Makino ran a strong early fourth but had to pit for repairs sustained in the early battling.

9:50 pm
September 2017