F3 points leader Gunther escapes penalty for crash with Hughes

Formula 3 European Championship leader Maximilian Gunther has escaped a penalty for his collision with Jake Hughes that took both out of the third race at Spa

F3 points leader Gunther escapes penalty for crash with Hughes

Gunther moved across to the left on the Kemmel straight in a bid to fend off an attempted passing move by Hughes as they battled for fourth position, and Hughes's front-right wheel clipped the left-rear of Gunther's.

Prema Powerteam star Gunther was flicked into the barrier at what he estimated was 240km/h as a result of the contact, and Briton Hughes stopped with broken front-right suspension.

The stewards reviewed the incident but decided to take no further action.

The stewards' statement read, "having considered the matter extensively, the stewards determined that while both cars touched, no individual driver was wholly responsible for the collision."

But Hughes, who has also been taken out of recent races by mistakes from title contenders Lando Norris and Callum Ilott, was furious about the accident.

"He knew I was there; he knew what I was doing," the Hitech GP driver told Autosport.

"I got a run on him a bit earlier than I'd have liked, but knowing he's the championship leader and knowing how he's been racing recently - which is quite conservative - he was the last person I expected this from.

"Even when he tried to scare me off the road I was thinking, 'I'm still coming' because, by the letter of the law, if any part of the car is alongside you have to give them room - and he should know that.

"I'm so surprised we got out of it OK - it could have been massive along that straight, especially front wheel to rear wheel."

Gunther told Autosport, "I was in P4 and tried to get the tow from my team-mate [Ilott], but we [Gunther and Hughes] touched and both crashed.

"It was not a good racing situation, but my first impressions from watching images is there was one metre of space [on the left] that he did not use.

"I'm a fair driver and my aim was definitely not to put him on the grass - my aim was to give him as much space as he needed and for sure he did not use it."

With the next round at Zandvoort, any grid penalty issued would have been very costly as the Dutch circuit is notoriously difficult to overtake on.

The crash leaves Gunther just 18 points in front of Norris, and 26 in front of Joel Eriksson, while Ilott has now fallen 80 adrift.

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