Norris drives flawless race to take Spa victory


Credit: FIA Formula 3 European Championship / Thomas Suer

Carlin driver Lando Norris drove a perfect race at Spa-Francorchamps to take victory in the opening race of the European F3 Championship in Belgium.

Norris led the field away as they avoided each other through La Source, followed by a clean run through Eau Rouge and Raidillon.

After fast run along Kemmel, chaos would ensue as Callum Ilott took a ambitious lunge heading in to Les Combes, attempting to pass Norris, unfortunately the Prema Powerteam driver ran out of space and was forced on to the run off area. Bouncing over the curbs Ilott collected the innocent Jake Hughes, breaking the suspension of the Hitech Grand Prix driver and putting him out of of the race and contention for a sure podium finish.

David Beckman would also get caught up in the aftermath of the incident as he tried to avoid the back of another car, the Motopark driver speared off the track to the left and out of the race.

A full course yellow followed by a brief safety car period saw the competitors lose around five minutes of race time.

On the restart Norris would lead away Maximilian Günther, but a battle was brewing further down the field as Ralf Aron, Joey Mawson, Harri Newey and Mick Schumacher fought over fifth place.

At the halfway point of the race Norris had pulled away and built up a lead of one second, Nikita Mazepin stepped up his game as they headed up to Les Combes as made his move around the outside of Günther on his way to the fastest lap of the race.

Schumacher was a man on the move at this point as he moved up to sixth place passed Aron along the Kemmel straight with twelve minutes remaining. Aron would continue to lose ground as Newey and Joel Eriksson push him down further.

As the clock counted down it looked like Mazepin was starting to get the better of race leader Norris as he set another fastest lap, Norris would respond a lap later as he maintained the gap between the two to 1.5 seconds.

Aron would fall out of the top ten with five minutes to go having had Ferdinand Habsberg and Pedro Piquet pass him with five minutes to go.

As the clock reached the final seconds, it was clear that Mazepin had settled for second place as Norris pulled out a 2 second lead.

With Norris taking the victory the championship it moves him up from third to second and the lead that Günther held heading in to this weekend falls from 34 points to 28; previous second placed driver Eriksson drops to third place.