Spa European F3: Norris wins race three as Gunther crashes out

McLaren-Honda protege Lando Norris took his second win of the Formula 3 European Championship round at Spa to slash the points gap of series leader Maximilian Gunther, who crashed out

Spa European F3: Norris wins race three as Gunther crashes out

Norris started from fourth on the grid after losing his pole position due to a penalty for his second-race incident, with Callum Ilott moving up onto pole position.

But Ilott was powerless to prevent Prema Powerteam stablemates Guan Yu Zhou and Gunther, together with the Carlin car of Norris, from slipstreaming past on the run to Les Combes on the opening lap.

Norris wasted little time in passing Gunther, towing past his rival along the Kemmel straight on early on to slot into second behind Zhou.

Ilott then also passed Gunther for third, and it was Jake Hughes's turn to mount the next passing bid.

Hughes ducked out of Gunther's slipstream exiting Raidillion on the fourth lap, the Hitech GP driver moving to the left.

But Gunther appeared to misjudge the closing speed of Hughes and moved to the left too late to defend, contact was made and Gunther smashed into the barrier on the left with both drivers out of the race.

The incident was very quickly cleared after one lap behind the safety car, and Norris instantly towed past Zhou into the lead.

Attentions now turned to Joel Eriksson, the Motopark-run BMW junior on superb form, just as he was in race two.

From 10th on the grid, Eriksson picked his way through the pack, before passing Zhou and then Ilott to move into second with four and a half laps remaining.

Norris's lead at this stage was around 2.5 seconds, but Eriksson could make little impression and the 2016 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner crossed the line 2.393s in front.

"The only thing I could do to make up for race two is win today, and obviously I did that," said Norris.

"It was a real fun race - I didn't think it was a necessarily bad thing starting from fourth.

"My start was good, and that's been another good thing from this weekend."

Zhou repassed Ilott - who had slipped past him in the middle of the race - on the final lap, the Chinese Ferrari junior completing the podium as the Prema cars suffered from rear-tyre degradation.

Jehan Daruvala was fifth for Carlin, while his team-mate Ferdinand Habsburg and Hitech GP's Ralf Aron had a terrific wheelbanging battle for sixth, in which race-two winner Habsburg prevailed.

This brought Harrison Newey and Mick Schumacher into their wheeltracks, with Prema driver Schumacher passing the Van Amersfoort Racing-run Brit on the final lap for eighth.

Another VAR driver, Joey Mawson, fended off a last-lap attack from Nikita Mazepin to take the final point.

RACE THREE - 15 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Lando Norris Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 35m36.677s
2 Joel Eriksson Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 2.393s
3 Guanyu Zhou Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 4.142s
4 Callum Ilott Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 4.701s
5 Jehan Daruvala Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 7.890s
6 Ferdinand Habsburg Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 10.177s
7 Ralf Aron Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 10.973s
8 Mick Schumacher Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 11.957s
9 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 12.643s
10 Joey Mawson Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 17.728s
11 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 17.937s
12 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 19.265s
13 Keyvan Andres Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 22.633s
14 Marino Sato Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 23.646s
15 Ameya Vaidyanathan Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 24.534s
16 David Beckmann Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 1m22.498s
- Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Jake Hughes Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes Retirement

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Maximilian Guenther 266
2 Lando Norris 248
3 Joel Eriksson 240
4 Callum Ilott 186
5 Jehan Daruvala 138
6 Jake Hughes 100
7 Guanyu Zhou 99
8 Ferdinand Habsburg 93
9 Ralf Aron 80
10 Harrison Newey 75
11 Mick Schumacher 69
12 Nikita Mazepin 52
13 Joey Mawson 48
14 Pedro Piquet 45
15 Jake Dennis 41
16 David Beckmann 28
17 Tadasuke Makino 10

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