British driver Lando Norris, who is supported by the McLaren Formula 1 team, scored his seventh win of the season in the 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Second place went to his Carlin teammate Ferdinand Habsburg, German Maximilian Gunther (Prema Powerteam) finished third. Norris, who was also the best rookie in the field, extended his lead in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings to eleven points from his nearest rival Gunther.
Norris took the lead at the start and already returned from the opening lap with a margin of almost one second. From the very beginning, Habsburg was in second place, followed by Gunther, Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam) and Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam). Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix) was in sixth place, but soon saw Ilott in front of him pull away. Behind the Brit, who had scored a podium finish in the second race at Zandvoort, a group of ten drivers, Hughes included, assembled.
On lap 11, Ilott headed into the pits to have the front wing of his car replaced and rejoined the race in last place. Thus, Hughes moved up into fifth position, but at that time already was 10 seconds down on Zhou, who was fourth.
Out in front, Norris had established a lead of over five seconds on Habsburg. For a long time, the Austrian was unable to pull away from Gunther, but his margin was always sufficient to avoid any danger. Thus, first to fourth position were already taken early.
The battles for positions in the midfield were a little closer; Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix) repeatedly tried to overtake his teammate Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix). The Estonian, who temporarily also put Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing) under pressure, managed to keep the Russian at bay. With five minutes remaining, Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing) tried to overtake Hughes on the outside at Tarzan corner, but the Hitech driver successfully defended his position. Meanwhile, Mazepin had to slot in behind rookie driver Joey Mawson and lost his ninth place to the Australian. Mazepin wanted to counter, but didn’t succeed. Thus, the finish order from fifth place onwards was: Hughes from Pedro Piquet, Newey, Aron, Mawson and Mazepin.
Said Norris: “There is not too much to say about this race. My start was fairly good, so that I didn’t have to defend my first place in the first corner. I am happy that my starts here at Zandvoort worked out so well. Apart from that, I almost went off the track once because, I believe, the wind had turned and I made a mistake. But it went well and I am happy with my second win of this weekend.”
Added Habsburg: “In the first two races of the weekend, my pace wasn’t great, but we looked at the data and the videos and managed to make a significant improvement. After a few laps, it went really well and in sector two, which was my main problem, I was really fast. This year, we have made a good step ahead. I started rather at the back, but now, I am on the podium for the third time already.
“Driving in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is fun. I would love to benefit from what I have learned and then be a contender for the title next season.”