Maximilian Günther secured his fourth win of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship season as he capitalised on an incident between Jake Hughes and Lando Norris to triumph in race one at the Norisring.
The Prema Powerteam driver was running third with time ticking down on the clock when the two leaders clashed heading into turn one, gifting him the lead, with the German taking the chequered flag first ahead of Pedro Piquet.
After leading from the start, Hughes came increasingly under attack from Norris after the Briton had manoeuvred his way passed Günther into second, but the two leaders came to blows with little over five minutes remaining on the clock.
Hughes was forced to retire with damage to both ends of his Hitech Grand Prix car after initially defending his position from Norris, he had to correct a wiggle after running into a dirty part of the circuit on the run down to turn one, before a tag from Norris pushed him into the barriers.
The incident gifted Günther the lead ahead of Piquet, with Norris rejoining in third, but the Briton, with a slightly damaged front wing from his contact with Hughes, was able to reclaim second place on the penultimate lap. However, a twenty-second time penalty for Norris relegated the Briton for avoidable contact saw the Carlin driver drop all the way out of the points to eleventh.
Piquet was able to claim his maiden European Formula 3 podium with second place, securing also Van Amersfoort Racing’s first top three result of the season, while Norris’ penalty promoted Prema Powerteam’s Guan Yu Zhou to third.
Despite having started on the back row of the grid, Joel Eriksson drove a superb race to claim fourth for Motopark, just 4.421 seconds off the race victory, while Harrison Newey ended the race fifth for Van Amersfoort Racing.
Newey had found himself ahead of both team-mate Joey Mawson and Eriksson in the early stages, but an attack from his team-mate allowed the Swede through into sixth. However Mawson’s race was over on the next lap as he was tagged into a spin by Jehan Daruvala that turned him into the outside wall.
The incident caused heavy damage to the front of the Australian’s car, but he was able to get out unharmed, and the incident saw the introduction of the race’s first full course yellow.
Daruvala survived the incident without damage or apparent punishment to finish sixth for Carlin ahead of Prema Powerteam’s Mick Schumacher, while Tadasuke Makino, Ralf Aron and Nikita Mazepin completed the top ten and the points scorers, with Norris’ penalty leaving him 1.406 seconds away from a point.
The opening lap saw Ferdinand Habsburg out-brake himself into turn one, tagging Norris’ car before hitting more firmly the car of Callum Ilott ahead of him, spinning the British driver around, with Aron, Makino Sato and David Beckmann also getting delayed as they all recovered.
A few laps later Habsburg misjudged his braking point heading into turn one, spinning the innocent Beckmann around. Both were able to return to the track once more but the Carlin driver pulled into the pits at the end of the lap to retire, with Beckmann finishing outside the points in twelfth.
Norisring Race 1 Result
|1||3||Maximilian Gunther||GER||Prema Powerteam||33:54.166|
|2||5||Pedro Piquet||BRZ||Van Amersfoort Racing||+1.507s|
|3||8||Guan Yu Zhou||CHN||Prema Powerteam||+2.134s|
|5||17||Harrison Newey||GBR||Van Amersfoort Racing||+15.640s|
|7||25||Mick Schumacher||GER||Prema Powerteam||+16.480s|
|8||11||Tadasuke Makino||JAP||Hitech Grand Prix||+17.907s|
|9||7||Ralf Aron||EST||Hitech Grand Prix||+18.508s|
|10||99||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||Hitech Grand Prix||+19.426s|
|14||47||Keyvan Andres Soori||GER||Motopark||+27.766s|
|RET||53||Callum Ilott||GBR||Prema Powerteam||Retired|
|RET||34||Jake Hughes||GBR||Hitech Grand Prix||Retired|
|RET||96||Joey Mawson||AUS||Van Amersfoort Racing||Retired|