Norisring F3: Gunther picks up win as Hughes and Norris collide

Maximilian Gunther won a thrilling opening race of the Formula 3 European Championship round at the Norisring after a late-race collision between Jake Hughes and Lando Norris.

Norisring F3: Gunther picks up win as Hughes and Norris collide
Maximilian Günther, Prema Powerteam Dallara F317 - Mercedes-Benz
Lando Norris, Carlin Dallara F317 - Volkswagen
Lando Norris, Carlin Dallara F317 - Volkswagen
Pedro Piquet, Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara F317 - Mercedes-Benz
Joel Eriksson, Motopark Dallara F317 - Volkswagen
Mick Schumacher, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F317 - Mercedes-Benz

Hughes had controlled the race beautifully from pole position, his Hitech GP car leading a queue of eight in the early stages while Norris recovered after losing places from his front-row start.

McLaren-Honda protege Norris had dropped to fourth at the start, but he inserted his Carlin machine down the inside of Pedro Piquet for third at the Turn 1 hairpin on the second lap.

Norris then attacked Gunther for second, but the Bavarian Prema Powerteam ace – racing on home ground – stabilised his position and was shadowing Hughes when a full-course yellow was called on lap 17.

Joey Mawson had been embroiled in a massive fight with Van Amersfoort Racing team-mate Harrison Newey for seventh, but contact with Jehan Daruvala at the chicane sent Australian Mawson smashing into the outside wall.

Once the race went green, Norris took a lap before lancing down the inside of Gunther to take second place at the Turn 1 hairpin.

Within a few laps he was attacking Hughes for the lead, probing for openings all around the circuit, which in turn allowed Gunther, Piquet and Guan Yu Zhou to close up.

A challenge from Gunther on Norris in turn allowed Hughes some breathing space, before Norris began to close the gap again.

On lap 32, Norris got into Hughes’s slipstream and moved to the inside to try for the lead, but that put him onto the dust and, seemingly powerless to brake, he shovelled Hughes into a spin, which ended with the Hitech car taking a large hit rear-end first into an access-road tyre barrier.

As Gunther and Piquet slipped past, Norris rejoined in third, just in front of Zhou, but there was another brief FCY while the wreckage was cleared.

That left five laps of green-flag racing in which Gunther was largely untroubled, as Norris threw everything into passing the VAR car of Piquet.

He succeeded with a lap to go when he slipstreamed past on the start-finish straight, but his second place on the road was converted to 11th with the addition of 20 seconds – in lieu of a drive-through penalty called on the last lap – for the clash with Hughes.

That promoted Piquet and Prema driver Zhou to second and third, while pre-race championship leader Joel Eriksson stormed through to finally take fourth in his Motopark car after starting on the back row.

Fifth-placed Newey held off Daruvala, Mick Schumacher, Tadasuke Makino, Ralf Aron and Nikita Mazepin, who claimed the final points positions.

For title contender Callum Ilott, it was a disastrous race.

He was tipped into a spin at the start by Ferdinand Habsburg, who had tripped over the slow-starting Norris, and this left Ilott leading a much-delayed group of five cars at the back.

Ilott gradually caught up the midfielders, only to spin Keyvan Andres Soori around at Turn 1, retiring to the pits with damage to his front end.

Race results

Pos. # Driver Team Laps Time Gap
1 3 Maximilian Gunther Prema Powerteam 38 33'54.166  
2 5 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing 38 33'55.673 1.507
3 8 Guan Yu Zhou Prema Powerteam 38 33'56.300 2.134
4 1 Joel Eriksson Motopark 38 33'58.587 4.421
5 17 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing 38 34'09.806 15.64
6 27 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 38 34'09.883 15.717
7 25 Mick Schumacher Prema Powerteam 38 34'10.646 16.48
8 11 Tadasuke Makino Hitech GP 38 34'12.073 17.907
9 7 Ralf Aron Hitech GP 38 34'12.674 18.508
10 99 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP 38 34'13.592 19.426
11 31 Lando Norris Carlin 38 34'14.998 20.832
12 55 David Beckmann Motopark 38 34'18.275 24.109
13 33 Marino Sato Motopark 38 34'21.508 27.342
14 47 Keyvan Andres Soori Motopark 38 34'21.932 27.766
  34 Jake Hughes Carlin 31 26'33.546  
  53 Callum Ilott Prema Powerteam 24 22'12.173  
  96 Joey Mawson Van Amersfoort Racing 15 12'31.708  
  62 Ferdinand Habsburg Carlin 6 5'46.913  


Norisring F3: Hughes beats Norris to pole by 0.002s

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