Maximilian Günther wins turbulent first race

In an action-packed FIA Formula 3 European Championship race at the 2.3 kilometres long Norisring in Nuremberg, Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) claimed victory. The German scored his fourth FIA Formula 3 European Championship season win and thus also moved up into the lead of the championship standings. Second place went to Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing), who scored his maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship podium finish. Moreover, the Brazilian secured the first Formula 3 podium result of the 2017 season for his team Van Amersfoort Racing. Chinese Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam) finished third from Swede Joel Eriksson (Motopark), who moved up from 17th on the grid to fourth at the finish with a strong performance. Still, the Motopark driver had to surrender his points’ lead to race winner Günther.

At the start, Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix) converted his pole position into the race lead, followed by Pedro Piquet and Maximilian Günther. While Günther overtook Piquet in turn one, Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) and Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin) collided in the midfield. On lap two, Piquet lost his third place to Lando Norris (Carlin), who then started putting pressure under Günther. The experienced German initially held off all the attacks by the British rookie driver.

Meanwhile, Joel Eriksson, who was only 17th after qualifying, used the opening stages of the race to work his way up into seventh place. On lap 15, he overtook Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing) within a few metres only. Just after that, the Australian’s race came to an early end following a collision with Jehan Daruvala (Carlin) and a subsequent crash into the wall. Race control imposed a full course yellow, with no overtaking and reduced speed for all competitors.

As the field returned to racing speed, Norris went past Günther and immediately put Jake Hughes, who was still in the lead, under pressure. On lap 32, there was contact between the two Brits. Hughes spun and retired while Norris dropped back to third behind Maximilian Günther as the new leader and Pedro Piquet. Just before the finish, the McLaren junior driver incurred a 20 seconds’ time penalty because of the collision and he dropped out of the point-scoring positions as a result.

Maximilian Günther won ahead of Pedro Piquet, Guanyu Zhou and Joel Eriksson. Harrison Newey, Jehan Daruvala, Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam), Tadasuke Makino (Hitech Grand Prix), Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix) and Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix) rounded out the top ten.

Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam): “My start was good and I even managed to take second place in the first corner. I was always close to the leader, but I also knew that I couldn’t afford a mistake. I patiently waited for my chance to occur. I am really happy with victory in my home race at the Norisring and also with the 25 points, of course.”

Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing): “I had already been quick all weekend and in qualifying, I managed to secure third place. My start of the race was okay and initially, I was in fourth position, but always close to the front runners. I am really happy with my maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship podium finish.”

Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam): “My start was good and I was in the top five right away. In the race, my speed was very good and better than in qualifying. I also had a bit of luck as I gained two places following the collision between Jake and Lando and Lando’s penalty.”