Norisring F3: Hughes beats Norris to pole by 0.002s
Jake Hughes pipped Lando Norris by two thousandths of a second to claim the first pole position of his Formula 3 European Championship career at the Norisring.
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Hughes, who along with his Hitech GP team has had a tough start to the 2017 season, snatched the top spot on the grid for race one with a couple of minutes of the session remaining, after getting a useful tow from Callum Ilott.
It was a complete turnaround from free practice in the morning, in which Hitech’s quartet was mired down the field.
“There was a little bit to improve in my driving in the chicane, and we thought we had something that definitely needed fixing,” said Hughes, “but it seems like we’ve nailed it.”
Of his slipstream of Ilott, he added: “I was already P3 before that, and then I backed off at the last corner so I wasn’t too close.
“I don’t think I did any of my best corners on that pole lap, and the biggest thing is he made a mistake at the last corner and went wide.
“After that I still had laps to go, but I couldn’t get into the rhythm, but to be honest I don’t care!”
McLaren-Honda protege Norris possibly got a sniff of a tow from Guan Yu Zhou, who was around a second up the road.
More importantly, the Carlin star found his way to the hairpin apexes so that he nailed them sweetly, having been a long way adrift in free practice.
Pedro Piquet topped both free practice sessions and was also on top for some of the qualifying session, the Van Amersfoort Racing man finishing up just 0.015s off pole in his best Euro F3 showing to date to take third.
“The sector that we lost the most was sector one, where I lost a tenth, and on my lap I didn’t have any tow,” said the Brazilian.
“When we get the car to work well I can deliver, and the races before I was in trouble, but also not as fast as my teammates. But here I’m better than them – it’s a good sign.”
Prema Powerteam pair Maximilian Gunther and Ilott qualified fourth and fifth. Carlin’s Ferdinand Habsburg took sixth ahead of the Prema machine of Ferrari junior Zhou.
VAR pairing Joey Mawson and Harrison Newey joined teammate Piquet in the top 10 by taking eighth and 10th respectively, sandwiching the Carlin car of Jehan Daruvala.
For the second round running, championship leader Joel Eriksson starts Race 1 from the back row after taking 17th place.
The Motopark team found a broken rear damper on the Swede’s car just before qualifying, so there was an emergency change, and the squad still felt as though something was amiss with the set-up.
|1||Jake Hughes||Hitech GP||48.231|
|3||Pedro Piquet||Van Amersfoort Racing||48.246||0.015|
|4||Maximilian Gunther||Prema Powerteam||48.334||0.103|
|5||Callum Ilott||Prema Powerteam||48.352||0.121|
|7||Guan Yu Zhou||Prema Powerteam||48.379||0.148|
|8||Joey Mawson||Van Amersfoort Racing||48.405||0.174|
|10||Harrison Newey||Van Amersfoort Racing||48.411||0.180|
|11||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||48.452||0.221|
|12||Ralf Aron||Hitech GP||48.457||0.226|
|13||Mick Schumacher||Prema Powerteam||48.516||0.285|
|16||Keyvan Andres Soori||Motopark||48.721||0.490|
|18||Tadasuke Makino||Hitech GP||48.930||0.699|
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Norisring F3: Gunther picks up win as Hughes and Norris collide