Hockenheim European Formula 3: Ilott snatches pole from Norris

Callum Ilott beat Lando Norris at the last gasp in the fight for pole position for the first race of the Formula 3 European Championship finale at Hockenheim

Hockenheim European Formula 3: Ilott snatches pole from Norris

Ilott wrested the top spot away on the final lap with a superb effort in his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes, to beat Carlin-run McLaren Formula 1 protege Norris by 0.161 seconds.

With Maximilian Gunther, Norris's only title challenger, qualifying a distant 12th, that means Norris is almost certain to be confirmed as champion in the first race of the weekend, which Gunther needs to win with Norris outside the top eight if the title is going to remain open.

Ilott was on top as the session entered the closing stages with a 1m31.827s, but Norris lowered the benchmark to 1m31.805s on the penultimate lap.

The response to a 1m31.646s was immediate from Ilott, while Norris - running later on the track - ran wide at the fast right-hander entering the final stadium section on a lap that he said was a tenth up on his own previous best at the time, but wouldn't necessarily have beaten Ilott's effort.

"I was looking at the times on the scoreboard, and I thought, 'That's good', but I knew there was more to come," said Ilott, who also headed free practice.

"Then the last lap I just put it together and it was good - at the moment it's working well."

"We made a slight improvement to the car compared to practice, but the track changed a bit [with the rubber from Carrera Cup free practice] and that took us a bit by surprise," said Norris.

"It's OK but could be better - we'll have to find a bit if I can consistently attack him."

Joel Eriksson, who along with Ilott could jump Gunther for the championship runner-up position, placed his Motopark car third on the grid with a last-lap effort.

Next up were Force India Formula 1 junior Jehan Daruvala and Ferdinand Habsburg, the Carlin duo showing good form and Habsburg putting in his best effort on his final lap.

Once again Honda protege Tadasuke Makino impressed to be the top Hitech GP runner - the Japanese set a purple time in the lengthy middle sector with a couple of laps to go and he too posted his best overall effort on the final lap.

Pedro Piquet showed one of his spasmodic flashes of good form to lead the Van Amersfoort Racing charge in seventh, ahead of the Hitech machine of Jake Hughes.

Rounding out the top 10 were Nikita Mazepin (Hitech) and Prema's Ferrari junior Guan Yu Zhou.

The gloomy Gunther didn't have any real explanation for his ill-timed loss of form after qualifying.

"I don't know if there is a problem - it felt OK but for sure not as I normally feel," he said.

Even though he was down in 12th in the order, Gunther was a mere 0.429s off pole.

Race one qualifying result

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Callum Ilott Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1m31.646s -
2 Lando Norris Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 1m31.805s 0.159s
3 Joel Eriksson Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 1m31.811s 0.165s
4 Jehan Daruvala Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 1m31.853s 0.207s
5 Ferdinand Habsburg Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 1m31.914s 0.268s
6 Tadasuke Makino Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 1m31.915s 0.269s
7 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 1m31.930s 0.284s
8 Jake Hughes Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 1m31.935s 0.289s
9 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 1m31.989s 0.343s
10 Guanyu Zhou Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1m32.015s 0.369s
11 Ralf Aron Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 1m32.034s 0.388s
12 Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1m32.075s 0.429s
13 Mick Schumacher Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1m32.206s 0.560s
14 Felipe Drugovich Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 1m32.230s 0.584s
15 Joey Mawson Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 1m32.262s 0.616s
16 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 1m32.281s 0.635s
17 David Beckmann Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 1m32.527s 0.881s
18 Devlin Defrancesco Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 1m32.597s 0.951s
19 Keyvan Andres Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 1m32.603s 0.957s
20 Marino Sato Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 1m32.993s 1.347s
21 Juri Vips Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 1m33.275s 1.629s

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Euro F3 Hockenheim: Gunther denies Ilott triple pole for finale

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