In the cold and wet Eifel, Lando Norris (Carlin, 1m35.601s) turned out to be unbeatable in qualifying of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship: the British McLaren junior driver posted the seventh fastest qualifying time in a row. At the 3.629 kilometres long Nürburgring sprint circuit, he was almost one second faster than his nearest rival Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix, 1m36.508s). Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam, 1m36.535s) and newcomer Sacha Fenestraz (Carlin, 1m36.813s) were classified in third and fourth place, followed by Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam, 1m36.904s), second in the drivers’ standings, and Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix, 1m37.052s).
Lando Norris currently is in great shape: at Spa-Francorchamps and Zandvoort already, he claimed all fastest qualifying times and at Nürburgring, once again, nobody was better than the Carlin driver. At the end of the 20 minutes’ session, he was 0.907 seconds faster than Jake Hughes, who was classified second. Stalwart Callum Ilott, the best-placed Prema Powerteam driver, was only 0.027 seconds slower than Hughes, which made the Brit end up in third place. Frenchman Sacha Fenestraz had a successful FIA Formula 3 European Championship qualifying debut as he ended up fourth. The current Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup points’ leader is contesting his first-ever FIA Formula 3 European Championship race weekend and was able to keep up with the fastest drivers right away.
German Maximilian Günther, currently second in the drivers’ standings and determined to attack Norris for the lead in his home round at the Nürburgring, had to make do with fifth place. Behind the test and reserve driver of the Mercedes-AMG DTM Team, Ralf Aron, the two rookies Jehan Daruvala (Carlin, 1m37.070s) and Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1m37.133s), Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix, 1m37.200s) and Tadasuke Makino (Hitech Grand Prix, 1m37.233s) rounded out the top ten. Max Defourny (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1m37.494s) claimed eleventh place for his FIA Formula 3 European Championship debut while the third novice Petru Florescu (Motopark, 1m38.361s) was classified 17th in his first-ever FIA Formula 3 European Championship qualifying.
Lando Norris (Carlin): “The start of qualifying was tricky because, contrarily to free practice, the track was wet. As I never have driven a Formula 3 car at a wet Nürburgring before, I initially didn’t know what to expect. However, I quickly found my way and I felt at ease. Due to the cold, it took quite long for the tyres to reach the optimal working temperature. Just before the end, I made a few mistakes, but on my final lap, when I put less pressure on myself, things went well again. I didn’t make any further mistakes and I was able to improve once again.”