Carlin’s Lando Norris gave his FIA Formula 3 European championship campaign a huge boost this weekend with a near perfect outing in the Eifel mountains. The McLaren Honda Junior claimed second placed in race two at the Nürburgring this morning before taking his second victory of the weekend in race three this afternoon. Team mate Jehan Daruvala racked up three points finishes, taking fifth place in the final race of the weekend. Ferdinand Habsburg claimed sixth place in Sunday’s race two but crashed out at the start of race three. Sacha Fenestraz took 13th and 10th, Vaidyanathan claimed 21st and 19th in today’s races.
After a weekend of mainly wet running for the FIA F3 drivers, the final race of the weekend was a dry affair this afternoon. At the start, Norris held second place behind pole man Callum Ilott. Habsburg’s race came to an early conclusion on lap one though, after contact with Guanyu Zhou at the first corner. That incident brought out the safety car which quickly neutralised the racing action.
At the restart, Norris was right with leader Ilott and only a few corners later was filling the mirrors of the Prema driver. Norris made his move for the lead on lap four, stealing past with a fantastic move to take first place.
Daruvala meanwhile was also making good progress, the Force India Academy driver having moved up to fifth place from his 10th place grid slot and now closing on the back of Ilott who had fallen further down the order. Fenestraz, gaining valuable experience in his debut FIAF3 weekend, was running in 13th place while Vaidyanathan was 19th.
As Norris led with a 1.5s gap to second placed man Jake Hughes, the racing action continued throughout the field. Vaidyanathan found himself filling the mirrors of Pedro Piquet, while Fenestraz was dueling with David Beckmann, the F3 rookie having to take avoiding action to prevent heading off circuit.
While Hughes closed slightly on Norris in the final laps, the Carlin man looked perfectly in control, edging out the gap again to control the pace at the front. At the chequered flag, Norris claimed his ninth win of the season to extend his championship lead to 73 points, with just two rounds remaining. Daruvala took fifth place to boost his points tally, Fenestraz claimed 11th on the line, but later claimed his first championship point for 10th, after a penalty for Nikita Mazepin, as Vaidyanathan came home 19th.
“The last race went really well,” said Norris. “The start wasn’t the best, but I didn’t lose out to anyone around me. I tried the outside at turn one, but Ilott held me off. Then we had a safety car. I had a really good run at the restart and made Ilott defend into turn one which allowed me to get the outside for turn two and get the cut back on the exit. He had the inside for turn four but I committed to the outside and kept my foot in to take the lead. From then on the race was pretty good. I controlled the pace and felt really comfortable in the car. Overall a great weekend, I think one of the best of my career. I just need to keep focused for Red Bull Ring.”