Norris beats Ilott to opening pole by 0.006 seconds

Credit: FIA Formula 3 European Championship / Thomas Suer

Lando Norris edged out fellow Briton Callum Ilott to take pole position for the first race of the 2017 FIA European Formula 3 Championship at Silverstone.

The Carlin driver secured top spot with a time of 1:50.094 as the top eighteen drivers were all within one second of that time, with just 0.006 seconds separating Norris on pole from second placed Ilott.

“In FP1 and FP2 this morning, the car felt pretty good but there were a couple of things we were struggling with, although we were confident we could make some improvements,” said Norris.  “Going into qualifying, we were aiming for a top three position, but knew that pole position would be very tough. 

“As soon as I came out of the pits though, the car felt better.  I had no traffic, so could just focus on putting a lap together.  I had two or three laps in a row where I was improving and got the lap I needed, but only by 0.006s. 

“Obviously, the gap is really small and I think the improvements we made between sessions were key.”

Ilott had finished fastest in both free practice sessions earlier in the day, but Norris set the best time of the weekend so far to deny the Prema Powerteam driver top spot, but he did finish ahead of team-mate Maximilian Günther by 0.079 seconds to take a front row grid slot.

“It sure has been a close finish,” said Ilott. “I think that if we put it all together we could have made it to pole.

“We definitely have what it’s needed to be on top, now let’s see how it goes in qualifying 2 and race 1.”

Joel Eriksson, 2016’s rookie champion, will start the opener from fourth on the grid for Motopark, with Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala fifth ahead of Prema Powerteam’s Guan Yu Zhou.

Nikita Mazepin’s strong weekend continued as he was the quickest of the Hitech Grand Prix quartet in seventh, with team-mates Tadasuke Makino, Jake Hughes and Ralf Aron tenth, eleventh and thirteenth respectively.

Jake Dennis will start eighth on his return to European Formula 3 for Carlin, while Joey Mawson was the only Van Amersfoort Racing entrant to qualify inside the top ten, taking ninth ahead of Japanese debutant Makino, with Mawson’s team-mates Pedro Piquet, David Beckmann and Harrison Newey down in fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth respectively.

Mick Schumacher’s first qualifying in Formula 3 saw the German qualify twelfth for Prema Powerteam, while the field was rounded out by Ferdinand Habsburg in seventeenth for Carlin ahead of Motopark duo Marino Sato and Keyvan Andres Soori.

Silverstone Race 1 Qualifying Result

131Lando NorrisGBRCarlin1:50.094
253Callum IlottGBRPrema Powerteam1:50.100
33Maximilian GuntherGERPrema Powerteam1:50.179
41Joel ErikssonSWEMotopark1:50.304
527Jehan DaruvalaINDCarlin1:50.377
68Guan Yu ZhouCHNPrema Powerteam1:50.416
799Nikita MazepinRUSHitech Grand Prix1:50.460
821Jake DennisGBRCarlin1:50.481
996Joey MawsonAUSVan Amersfoort Racing1:50.510
1011Tadasuke MakinoJAPHitech Grand Prix1:50.600
1134Jake HughesGBRHitech Grand Prix1:50.607
1225Mick SchumacherGERPrema Powerteam1:50.668
137Ralf AronESTHitech Grand Prix1:50.847
145Pedro PiquetBRZVan Amersfoort Racing1:50.915
1555David BeckmannGERVan Amersfoort Racing1:50.937
1617Harrison NeweyGBRVan Amersfoort Racing1:50.938
1762Ferdinand HabsburgAUTCarlin1:51.001
1833Marino SatoJAPMotopark1:51.015
1947Keyvan Andres SooriGERMotopark1:51.792