Lando Norris (Carlin) remained unfazed by the rainy Eifel weather in the opening stages of the race at the 3.629 kilometres long Nürburgring sprint circuit and dominantly won the 22nd race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season from Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix) and Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing). For McLaren junior driver Norris, it was his eighth win in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season while Australian Mawson scored his maiden podium finish in the junior single-seater series. Norris extended his lead in the drivers’ standings to 338 points and thus is 36 points clear of second-placed Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam). The German, who is backed by Mercedes-AMG, had to make do with 13th place after an early pit stop following a collision with Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix).
The race went underway in the rain. British driver Lando Norris was unaffected by the precipitation and he took the lead at the start. Behind him, his compatriots Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) and Jake Hughes followed in second and third place, but Hughes overtook Ilott in the opening stages of the race. On lap three, newcomer Sacha Fenestraz (Carlin) missed his braking point and ran into the rear of Nikita Mazepin’s car (Hitech Grand Prix). The Russian, who was fourth at the time, retired and the Frenchman incurred a drive-through penalty. Race control called for a Full Course Yellow (FCY) to allow for Mazepin’s car to be recovered from the run-off area. FCY means no overtaking and reduced speed for all competitors.
After four laps, the order in front was Norris from Hughes, Ilott, Mawson and Tadasuke Makino (Hitech Grand Prix). While Norris out in front had already built up an advantage, Ilott lost out in the battle for third place to rookie driver Mawson. Meanwhile, it wasn’t plain sailing for the front runner either: on lap eight, he briefly came off the track, but his lead was never in jeopardy. Eventually, he scored an undisputed eighth FIA Formula 3 European Championship season victory from Jake Hughes, who brought his equally undisputed second place home.
The battle for third became considerably more exciting in the closing stages of the race. Callum Ilott put Joey Mawson under pressure and Tadasuke Makino was lurking behind the duo. The three youngsters staged a thrilling battle, in which Ilott initially attacked Mawson, but the latter successfully defended his position. Makino used this chance to get past Ilott for fourth. With Mawson ahead of Makino and Ilott, the trio crossed the finish line. After the race, the Japanese was penalised with a 5 second time penalty, as he was too fast under FCY. Thus, ended up in seventh position.
Position four was inherited by Callum Ilott, from Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin) and Jehan Daruvala (Carlin). Behind Makino, Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam), Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam) and Joel Eriksson (Motopark) competed the top ten.
Lando Norris (Carlin): “There isn’t too much to say about my race. My start was good, I managed to keep Jake and Callum at bay. After that, I was able to pull clear from the rest of the field and build up an advantage. On lap eight, I had a hairy moment when I briefly went off the track and lost a few seconds. Otherwise, everything went well and my car was great, so I can’t complain.”
Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix): “My response at the start was good, but then I had too much wheel spin and Callum was able to overtake me. Then, it took me a few laps to get past him again. At that time, Lando already had a considerable gap out in front. Nevertheless, I am happy with my performance. My car was good and second place is a good result as well.”
Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing): “At times, my race was pretty hectic. In the opening stages, I more or less managed to stay out of all the battles. Only slight contact with Ralf Aron was the reason that I had a hole in the front of the car for the rest of the race. After that, I backed off a little bit, but otherwise, fortunately, my car was okay. At the end, it got exciting once again. We were probably running with slightly too much tyre pressure, so that I lost speed towards the end. Callum was right behind me, but I knew that he only could overtake me when I would make a mistake. I didn’t grant him that pleasure and now I am happy with my maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship podium finish.”