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Norisring European F3: Gunther wins after Norris and Hughes collide

Maximilian Gunther won a thrilling first Formula 3 European Championship race at the Norisring after a late-race collision between Jake Hughes and Lando Norris

Hughes had controlled the race beautifully from pole position, his Hitech GP car leading a queue of eight cars in the early stages while Norris recovered after losing places from his front-row start.

McLaren-Honda protege Norris had dropped to fourth, but he inserted his Carlin machine down the inside of Pedro Piquet for third at the Turn 1 hairpin on the second lap.

Norris then attacked Gunther for second, but the Prema Powerteam driver stabilised his position and was shadowing Hughes when a full course yellow was called on lap 17.

Joey Mawson had been embroiled in a massive fight with Van Amersfoort Racing team-mate Harrison Newey for seventh, but contact with Jehan Daruvala at the chicane sent Australian Mawson smashing into the wall on the outside.

Once the race went green, Norris took a lap before lancing down the inside of Gunther to take second place at the Turn 1 hairpin.

Within a few laps he was attacking Hughes for the lead, probing for openings all around the circuit, which in turn allowed Gunther, Piquet and Guan Yu Zhou to close up.

A challenge from Gunther on Norris in turn allowed Hughes some breathing space, before Norris began to close the gap again.

Six laps from the finish Norris got into Hughes's slipstream and moved to the inside to try for the lead, but that put him onto the dust and he shovelled Hughes into a spin, which ended with a large crump rear-end first into an access-road tyre barrier.

As Gunther and Piquet slipped past, Norris rejoined in third, just in front of Zhou, but there was another brief FCY while the wreckage was cleared.

That left five laps of green-flag racing in which Gunther was largely untroubled, as Norris threw everything into passing the VAR car of Piquet.

He succeeded with a lap to go when he slipstreamed past on the start-finish straight, but his second place on the road was converted to 11th with the addition of 20 seconds - in lieu of a drive-through penalty called on the last lap - for the clash with Hughes.

That promoted Piquet and Prema driver Zhou to second and third, while pre-race championship leader Joel Eriksson stormed through to take fourth in his Motopark car after starting on the back row.

The Swede was the big loser in the first FCY, otherwise he could well have challenged for a podium, and lost his points advantage to Gunther.

Newey held off Daruvala, Mick Schumacher, Tadasuke Makino, Ralf Aron and Nikita Mazepin, who claimed the final points positions.

For the other title contender, Callum Ilott, it was a disastrous race.

He was tipped into a spin at the start by Ferdinand Habsburg, who had tripped over the slow-starting Norris, and this left Ilott leading a much-delayed group of five cars at the back.

Ilott gradually caught up the midfielders, only to spin Keyvan Andres Soori around at Turn 1 before retiring to the pits with damage to his front end.

RACE ONE RESULT - 38 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 33m54.166s
2 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 1.507s
3 Guanyu Zhou Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 2.134s
4 Joel Eriksson Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 4.421s
5 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 15.640s
6 Jehan Daruvala Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 15.717s
7 Mick Schumacher Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 16.480s
8 Tadasuke Makino Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 17.907s
9 Ralf Aron Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 18.508s
10 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 19.426s
11 Lando Norris Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 20.832s
12 David Beckmann Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 24.109s
13 Marino Sato Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 27.342s
14 Keyvan Andres Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 27.766s
- Jake Hughes Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Callum Ilott Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Joey Mawson Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Ferdinand Habsburg Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen Retirement


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