Gunther wins European F3's Pau Grand Prix after Norris crash

Mercedes DTM junior Maximilian Gunther scored victory in the Pau Grand Prix after Lando Norris crashed out of a dominant lead with nine and a half laps remaining

Gunther wins European F3's Pau Grand Prix after Norris crash

Poleman Norris finally cracked his starting bugbear, and the McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team protege's Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen streaked into a 1.271-second lead on the opening lap.

By the ninth lap of 28, Norris was 4s in front of the Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes of Gunther when the safety car was called after David Beckmann crashed at the Foch chicane and took some time to emerge from the wreckage.

Norris, who had two new tyres left from his weekend allocation to the zero of Gunther, built up a 2.6s advantage within eight laps of the restart.

But then it all went wrong and, just as happened to Eriksson in race two, Norris suffered a front-suspension failure at Foch, bounced off the final apex and hit the wall.

Gunther was left with a 1.5s lead over Prema team-mate Callum Ilott, and reeled off the remaining laps to win the Pau GP at his third attempt.

"To win the Pau Grand Prix is very special - apart from the 25 points, which are of course extremely important, I'm very happy," said Gunther.

"I saw my chance at the start, but unfortunately my revs dropped and I had to push the clutch again - it was an exciting moment but I still had P2.

"Lando was very quick, and to be honest I decided not to take so many risks, especially over the big kerbs, because I saw some cars crashing in the first two races."

Ilott came under pressure from the Hitech GP car of Ralf Aron during the middle of the race.

The Estonian ran sixth in the early stages behind Harrison Newey and Joel Eriksson.

Eriksson was swarming all over Newey, but was taken by surprise when Aron darted inside at the Lycee hairpin.

Joey Mawson drew alongside Eriksson on the approach to Parc Beaumont, but ran out of room and sideswiped the barriers.

Although the Australian continued for a couple of laps, he pitted with suspension damage.

Aron passed Newey at the restart, going to the outside of the Van Amersfoort Racing driver at the Gare corner, which put him on the inside on the climb up the hill to Pont Oscar.

Newey continued to soak up pressure from Eriksson's Motopark car to claim his second fourth place of the day, while Eriksson retakes the championship lead on a wins countback over Norris following his fifth place.

A puncture for Nikita Mazepin promoted Carlin's Ferdinand Habsburg to what became sixth position, while Tadasuke Makino held off Pedro Piquet for seventh.

Behind ninth-placed Jake Dennis, Ferrari junior Guan Yu Zhou won the closest battle of the race to take 10th from Jehan Daruvala.

RESULTS - 28 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 34m23.254s
2 Callum Ilott Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1.952s
3 Ralf Aron Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 3.237s
4 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 6.786s
5 Joel Eriksson Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 8.386s
6 Ferdinand Habsburg Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 9.395s
7 Tadasuke Makino Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 11.453s
8 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 11.979s
9 Jake Dennis Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 12.272s
10 Guanyu Zhou Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 17.826s
11 Jehan Daruvala Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 20.756s
12 Mick Schumacher Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 21.234s
13 Marino Sato Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 27.884s
- Lando Norris Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen Retirement
- Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Keyvan Andres Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen Retirement
- Joey Mawson Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Jake Hughes Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- David Beckmann Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes Retirement

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Joel Eriksson 139
2 Lando Norris 139
3 Maximilian Guenther 137
4 Callum Ilott 109
5 Ferdinand Habsburg 51
6 Ralf Aron 46
7 Mick Schumacher 45
8 Harrison Newey 43
9 Jake Dennis 41
10 Jehan Daruvala 40
11 Guanyu Zhou 32
12 Nikita Mazepin 25
13 Jake Hughes 24
14 Pedro Piquet 18
15 Joey Mawson 14
16 Tadasuke Makino 6

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Pau F3: Gunther wins second race as Norris takes points lead

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