Norisring European F3: Charles Leclerc wins under safety car in wet

Charles Leclerc took the win in a safety-car-marred Formula 3 European Championship race to kick off the Norisring weekend

Norisring European F3: Charles Leclerc wins under safety car in wet

While Leclerc fully deserved his win after proving the master of wet conditions, the second half of the race was run entirely under caution, with just 15 laps of racing having been completed.

The race had also begun under the safety car, and poleman Leclerc initially found it tough to escape the attentions of Alexander Albon, who had passed front-row man Maximilian Gunther with ease into the Turn 1 hairpin when the race went green.

After eight laps of racing, an error caused Albon to skate straight on at Turn 1, dropping him to fifth behind Gunther, Felix Rosenqvist and Antonio Giovinazzi.

From seventh on the grid, Giovinazzi was on a charge in the wet conditions. On the 15th lap, Rosenqvist tried to pass Gunther amid a knot of backmarkers, but Giovinazzi got a run through Turn 1 and was able to pass the Swede on the exit.

The following lap, Giovinazzi passed Gunther for second into the chicane, and a couple of laps later Rosenqvist also made it past the German.

By this stage Leclerc had an enormous lead, but the safety car emerged at the end of the 18th lap.

It appears that Jake Dennis, who was running sixth behind Albon after climbing from 10th on the grid, hit the lapped Arjun Maini (who had stopped to have a rear wing replaced) into Turn 1, with 10th-placed Santino Ferrucci also skating off the track.

Giovinazzi therefore closed right onto the tail of Leclerc, although he had to shed Dennis's front wing, which he had picked up as he arrived on the following lap at the scene of the crash.

But the Carlin-run Italian would not get a chance to attack the Monegasque's Van Amersfoort Racing car, as the race ran out under yellow conditions - a decision endorsed by the podium finishers.

"Alex was putting me under pressure, and I think he was pushing harder than me, and then I couldn't see him anymore," said Leclerc.

"There was a lot of rain and I think it was a good decision to end the race under the safety car - it was really wet and there could have been a big accident."

Prema driver Rosenqvist added: "It's hard to describe how it is to drive like that, so I think it was the right decision to stop the race."

Behind the Mucke Motorsport car of Gunther, Albon led home Signature team-mate Dorian Boccolacci for fifth, with Gustavo Menezes and Lance Stroll next up.

The departure of Dennis and Ferrucci from the fray elevated Markus Pommer - who faded from his second-row start - and George Russell into the final points-scoring positions.

RESULTS - 30 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Charles Leclerc Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Volkswagen 35m41.741s
2 Antonio Giovinazzi Jagonya Ayam with Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 0.769s
3 Felix Rosenqvist Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 5.703s
4 Maximilian Guenther KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 6.410s
5 Alexander Albon Signature Dallara/Volkswagen 7.526s
6 Dorian Boccolacci Signature Dallara/Volkswagen 7.998s
7 Gustavo Menezes Jagonya Ayam with Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 9.369s
8 Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 9.864s
9 Markus Pommer Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 11.196s
10 George Russell Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 12.734s
11 Callum Ilott Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 13.199s
12 Mikkel Jensen KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 14.493s
13 Ryan Tveter Jagonya Ayam with Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 15.350s
14 Tatiana Calderon Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 16.603s
15 Sergio Sette Camara Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 16.955s
16 Sam MacLeod Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 17.413s
17 Alessio Lorandi Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Volkswagen 17.546s
18 Julio Moreno ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/NBE 20.150s
19 Pietro Fittipaldi Fortec Motorsports Dallara/Mercedes 20.311s
20 Brandon Maisano Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1 Lap
21 Kang Ling KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 1 Lap
22 Nicolas Pohler Double R Racing Dallara/Mercedes 1 Lap
23 Matt Rao Fortec Motorsports Dallara/Mercedes 1 Lap
24 Nabil Jeffri Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 1 Lap
25 Mahaveer Raghunathan Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 2 Laps
26 Fabian Schiller Team West-Tec F3 Dallara/Mercedes 2 Laps
- Jake Dennis Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Santino Ferrucci KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Matt Solomon Double R Racing Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Raoul Hyman Team West-Tec F3 Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Arjun Maini Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Volkswagen Retirement
- Michele Beretta KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes Retirement


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Norisring European F3: Lotus junior Alexander Albon takes two poles

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