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Norisring European F3: Max Verstappen wins scrappy race two

Max Verstappen was on top in yet another dramatic round of the Formula 3 European Championship, which this time featured three safety cars and one red flag due to mid-race rain.

The race started on a track that was dry on the racing line but wet otherwise, and Verstappen led the first half under light drizzle.

His Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-Volkswagen had a reasonable advantage over Tom Blomqvist and championship leader Esteban Ocon when the safety car was called for a second time, and while the field circulated slowly the worsening rain meant the call was taken for red flags, enabling everyone to fit wet-weather Hankook tyres.

When racing resumed, Ocon looked down the inside of Blomqvist into Turn 1. Blomqvist gave him racing room but as they exited the corner Ocon's right-rear wheel hit his left-front, forcing him into the wall.

One lap later Jordan King, who had risen from seventh in the early stages, went around the outside of Ocon at Turn 1 and, with the Lotus Junior struggling for traction on the inside line, the Briton surged his Carlin Dallara-VW past on exit.

At that point the safety car was called again to rescue Blomqvist's stricken car and, when racing resumed, Ocon was called in for a drive-through penalty as retribution for the collision.

Eight laps of racing remained, and the supreme Verstappen pulled out a second per lap on King, who in turn was under no threat from Lucas Auer's Mucke Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes.

Both King and Auer had been involved in a hectic early scrap that featured their team-mates, Jake Dennis and Felix Rosenqvist respectively.

It was Dennis who emerged in fourth place from the revelation of the race, Santino Ferrucci, who moved his EuroInternational Dallara-Merc into fifth when Rosenqvist ran wide at the last corner and then pressured Dennis in the closing stages - Ferrucci is in just his second European F3 race weekend.

Ferrari protege Antonio Fuoco made good progress in the wet to climb his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Merc to seventh ahead of team-mate Nicholas Latifi, while the Carlin car of Antonio Giovinazzi and Van Amersfoort Racing's Gustavo Menezes completed the points.

The first safety car was caused by the traditional first-lap, first-corner shunt, which eliminated Felipe Guimaraes and Spike Goddard, and inflicted damage to the cars of Michele Beretta, Jules Szymkowiak and Alexander Toril.

The second was called due to an incident as the drizzle worsened, Roy Nissany getting caught out on the damp inside line into Turn 1 and harpooning Mucke stablemate Tatiana Calderon into the barriers.

There was another potentially big incident when Felix Serralles and Sean Gelael collided while running wheel-to-wheel through the flat-out back-straight kink in their battle for 10th.

Serralles spun but recovered to 11th, while Gelael was forced to serve a drive-through for the incident - he was subsequently brought in for rain tyres but the plan was scuppered by the subsequent race stoppage.

Results - 32 laps                                                   
Pos  Driver                Team/Car                         Time/Gap
 1.  Max Verstappen        Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW       45m44.818s
 2.  Jordan King           Carlin Dallara-VW                 +8.827s
 3.  Lucas Auer            Mucke Dallara-Mercedes           +15.436s
 4.  Jake Dennis           Carlin Dallara-VW                +16.804s
 5.  Santino Ferrucci      EuroInternational Dallara-Merc   +18.057s
 6.  Felix Rosenqvist      Mucke Dallara-Mercedes           +19.037s
 7.  Antonio Fuoco         Prema Dallara-Mercedes           +20.247s
 8.  Nicholas Latifi       Prema Dallara-Mercedes           +22.608s
 9.  Antonio Giovinazzi    Carlin Dallara-VW                +24.952s
10.  Gustavo Menezes       Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW         +26.845s
11.  Felix Serralles       West-Tec Dallara Mercedes        +27.291s
12.  Dennis van de Laar    Prema Dallara-Mercedes           +29.275s
13.  John Bryant-Meisner   Fortec Dallara-Mercedes          +31.523s
14.  Esteban Ocon          Prema Dallara-Mercedes           +35.245s
15.  Hector Hurst          West-Tec Dallara Mercedes        +37.318s
16.  Sandro Zeller         Jo Zeller Dallara-Mercedes       +42.089s
17.  Sean Gelael           Carlin Dallara-VW                  -1 lap
18.  Alexander Toril       T-Sport Dallara-NBE                -1 lap
19.  Roy Nissany           Mucke Dallara-Mercedes            -2 laps
20.  Mitch Gilbert         Fortec Dallara-Mercedes           -2 laps
     Tom Blomqvist         Carlin Dallara-VW                 21 laps
     Michele Beretta       EuroInternational Dallara-Merc    19 laps
     Tatiana Calderon      Jo Zeller Dallara-Mercedes        15 laps
     Jules Szymkowiak      Van Amersfoot Dallara-VW            1 lap
     Spike Goddard         Double R Dallara-Mercedes          0 laps
     Felipe Guimares       Double R Dallara-Mercedes          0 laps
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