Norisring F3: Norris charges from fifth to first in Race 2
McLaren F1 protege Lando Norris took a stunning win in the second race of the Formula 3 European Championship round at the Norisring.
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Poleman Ralf Aron led 36 of the 42 laps, but the Estonian’s challenge crumbled in the final moments as he tumbled to fifth.
Norris started his Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen from fourth on the grid, and lost no positions at the start, but his bid to prise third place away from championship leader Maximilian Gunther failed and Norris was demoted to fifth by Pedro Piquet.
But McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Norris squeezed down the inside of Piquet’s Van Amersfoort Racing car at the Dutzendteich hairpin, the last corner on the circuit, on the third tour, then hunted down Gunther.
The race stabilised from that point on, with Aron holding a one-second advantage over Hitech GP teammate Jake Hughes, who had Gunther, Norris and Jehan Daruvala – who had passed Piquet – close behind.
But on the 19th lap, Gunther braked too deep – he reported mid-race lock-up problems – into Dutzdendteich, and Norris was able to slip up the inside and complete the move to take third into Turn 1.
It took only a couple of laps for Norris to zap Hughes into the Turn 1 hairpin, and now he had a 1.6s gap to make up to Aron.
At first the interval came down in increments, but with 13 laps remaining Norris was right with Aron.
There was a flurry of passing bids before Norris took a breather, and then came another attack with six laps remaining.
Norris tried the outside line at Turn 1, then attempted an audacious bid at the chicane, which caused Aron to make an awkward exit, allowing Norris alongside on the run to Dutzendteich.
Now Norris was in front, but next time around Aron, his front wing now loose, tried a bid to immediately reclaim the lead, only to lock up at Dutzendteich, allowing Hughes into second.
One lap later, Gunther drew his Prema Powerteam car alongside Aron on the run to Turn 1, and Aron’s defence of the inside line caused him to sail wide of the apex, also allowing Carlin man Daruvala past.
Norris won by 1.1s from Hughes after a breathless encounter.
“It’s good to be back on the top step after not such an enjoyable run of races,” said Norris.
“It’s not the easiest track to overtake on, especially if someone is defending well. But I had some good battles, particularly with Ralf.”
Piquet slipped back from the leading quintet to hold off VAR teammate Harrison Newey for sixth, with Prema’s Guan Yu Zhou also close at hand.
Joel Eriksson and Callum Ilott didn’t make their anticipated climbs up the order, but they had a terrific scrap, Ilott moving ahead with four laps remaining to claim ninth.
|2||Jake Hughes||Hitech GP||1.134|
|3||Maximilian Gunther||Prema Powerteam||2.176|
|5||Ralf Aron||Hitech GP||4.167|
|6||Pedro Piquet||Van Amersfoort Racing||4.554|
|7||Harrison Newey||Van Amersfoort Racing||5.074|
|8||Guan Yu Zhou||Prema Powerteam||5.624|
|9||Callum Ilott||Prema Powerteam||6.504|
|12||Mick Schumacher||Prema Powerteam||12.554|
|13||Joey Mawson||Van Amersfoort Racing||14.198|
|14||Tadasuke Makino||Hitech GP||14.923|
|17||Keyvan Andres Soori||Motopark||22.577|
|18||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||1 Lap|
Norisring F3: Aron and Gunther share Sunday poles
Norisring F3: Daruvala fends off Gunther for maiden win