Lando Norris was in sublime form as he overcame a safety car start and two further safety car interruptions to take his maiden FIA European Formula 3 Championship victory at Silverstone on Friday.
The race started behind the safety car due to pre-race rain, although everyone of the nineteen drivers started on dry weather tyres, and but when the pack was released, carnage ensued with Ralf Aron tipping Hitech Grand Prix team-mate Nikita Mazepin into a spin even before they had reached the start/finish line.
Both drivers recovered but Mazepin was eliminated in another incident later in the lap at Luffield, ending his afternoon for good and bringing out the safety car, which also allowed marshals to remove the stricken Prema Powerteam car of Callum Ilott at Abbey.
Ilott’s chance of a win on his Prema debut disappeared at the beginning of the fourth lap as he lost the back end of his car spun into the gravel trap and finding himself beached. It was a disappointing ending to the race for the driver who had started second and would have more than likely had the best opportunity to challenge Norris for the victory.
Norris continued to lead when the race resumed but it was quickly nullified again when Aron found himself in the Luffield barriers after being struck from behind. The Estonian’s afternoon was over, and he was able to chat with team-mate Mazepin about their respective issues behind the barriers.
Norris controlled the final restart and was never pressurised thereafter, with Carlin team-mate Jake Dennis finishing an excellent second after a great first lap that saw him move from eighth on the grid to run third, which became second when Ilott spun out.
Maximilian Günther ensured Prema were represented on the podium with third place, but the German was unable to reclaim his position ahead of Dennis, finishing 0.749 seconds behind his rival, but 0.775 seconds ahead of Motopark’s Joel Eriksson.
Another driver to have a great first lap was Joey Mawson, the 2016 ADAC Formula 4 Champion, who ultimately claimed fifth place for Van Amersfoort Racing despite starting ninth. Sixth also went to Van Amersfoort Racing, with Harrison Newey driving superbly having started down in sixteenth, the Briton making a good pass on Mick Schumacher into Copse Corner before pulling away from the German.
Schumacher had climbed as high as sixth and was challenge Mawson before the intervention of the safety car, but he ended up defending first from Newey and then from Prema team-mate Guan Yu Zhou, who eventually made a move stick late in the race heading into Vale.
Pedro Piquet finished on Schumacher’s tail to take ninth for Van Amersfoort Racing, while Jehan Daruvala found himself shuffled back in the early laps but ended up tenth after a last lap pass on Japanese racer Tadasuke Makino, ensuring Hitech Grand Prix failed to score points with any of their drivers after Jake Hughes finished down in thirteenth, just behind Carlin’s Ferdinand Habsburg.
But no one was going to deny Norris his maiden victory on his first proper start in the category after a trio of races as a wildcard entry at the Hockenheimring last year where he was forced to start from the pit lane.
Silverstone Race 1 Result
|3||3||Maximilian Gunther||GER||Prema Powerteam||+2.432s|
|5||96||Joey Mawson||AUS||Van Amersfoort Racing||+4.991s|
|6||17||Harrison Newey||GBR||Van Amersfoort Racing||+9.376s|
|7||8||Guan Yu Zhou||CHN||Prema Powerteam||+13.253s|
|8||25||Mick Schumacher||GER||Prema Powerteam||+14.154s|
|9||5||Pedro Piquet||BRZ||Van Amersfoort Racing||+14.644s|
|11||11||Tadasuke Makino||JAP||Hitech Grand Prix||+16.282s|
|13||34||Jake Hughes||GBR||Hitech Grand Prix||+17.447s|
|14||55||David Beckmann||GER||Van Amersfoort Racing||+19.947s|
|15||47||Keyvan Andres Soori||GER||Motopark||+22.883s|
|RET||7||Ralf Aron||EST||Hitech Grand Prix||Retired|
|RET||53||Callum Ilott||GBR||Prema Powerteam||Retired|
|RET||99||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||Hitech Grand Prix||Retired|