British driver Lando Norris (Carlin, 1m50.094s) got his first full FIA Formula 3 European Championship season off to a perfect start. In first qualifying at the 5.901 kilometres long Formula 1 circuit in Silverstone, he claimed his maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship pole position. Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam, 1m50.100s) ended up in second place, only 0.006s down, followed by Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam, 1m50.179s), Joel Eriksson (Motopark, 1m50.304s), Jehan Daruvala (Carlin, 1m50.377s) and Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam, 1m50.416s). In total, the lap times of 18 drivers were within one second.
With second place in free practice, Lando Norris already made it clear that he would be a serious contender for pole position and soon after that, the 17-year-old talent lived up to the expectations. In the closing stages of qualifying, he battled with Callum Ilott and Maximilian Günther for first place on the grid for the first race and eventually came out on top.
Behind Norris and Ilott, Maximilian Günther, the runner-up of last year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship followed in third place. He was only 0.085s down on Norris. Joel Eriksson, last year’s best rookie, was on top of the timing screens around the halfway point, but eventually was classified fourth. Jehan Deruvala, a protégé of the Force India Formula 1 team and a rookie driver in this year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship, ended up fifth ahead of Ferrari junior driver Guanyu Zhou and Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix, 1m50.460s), who, like Deruvala, is supported by Force India. Jake Dennis (Carlin, 1m50.481s), Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1m50.510s) and Tadasuke Makino (Hitech Grand Prix, 1m50.600s) rounded out the top ten. Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam, 1m50.668s) was classified twelfth in his first FIA Formula 3 European Championship outing, behind Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix, 1m50.607s).
Lando Norris (Carlin): “In free practice this morning, I first had to find the right rhythm. My car wasn’t perfectly balanced either, we still had to make some improvements compared to Prema Powerteam. And obviously, we managed to do so. In qualifying, I initially was a bit nervous, but I was confident at the same time. Then, I found three or four clear laps, which was very important. Some other fast drivers didn’t manage to do that, they were having more problems in traffic. Even though I wasn’t driving impeccably yet, I am quite happy with first place.”