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Not even a three places’ grid penalty could prevent British driver Lando Norris (Carlin) from winning the 18th race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season.

At the 7.004 kilometres long race track of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, the McLaren junior driver won with a margin of 2.393 seconds over Swedish BMW junior Joel Eriksson (Motorpark) and Ferrari protégé Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam) from China. Maximilian Günther, the Mercedes-backed FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ leader, retired after a collision with Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix), but remains in the lead of the drivers’ standings.

In qualifying, Lando Norris had claimed pole position for this race, but due to a collision with Guanyu Zhou in yesterday’s race, he was only allowed to start from fourth place on the grid. Pole position went to Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam), who led the field for the first few metres of the race. On the long Kemmel straight, however, Guanyu Zhou overtook the Brit on the opening lap and Ilott lost further positions to Maximilian Günther and Lando Norris on lap one. One lap later, Norris moved up into second place, but race leader Zhou already had a 1.3 seconds lead at that time.

Soon after that, Maximilian Günther and Jake Hughes collided, which caused the safety car to be deployed. At the restart, Norris took his chance and overtook Zhou for the lead. Afterwards, he gradually extended his lead and then drove a safe victory home.

Behind Norris, Joel Eriksson, who had started from tenth place on the grid, worked his way up through the ranks. After 15 laps of racing, he took the chequered flag in second place ahead of Guanyu Zhou. Callum Ilott finished fourth from Jehan Daruvala (Carlin), Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin), Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix), Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam), Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing).

Lando Norris (Carlin): “For me, the second race wasn’t good, but things had been going really well until then. Therefore, I really wanted to win today. I think that fourth place on the grid at Spa isn’t that much of a disadvantage at all. Once again, I had a good start in this race which is very important to me after the many weak starts I have had this season.”

Joel Eriksson (Motopark): “In this race, I was really fast again, I probably even had the fastest car in the field. After the relatively troublesome start of the weekend here at Spa, it is good that we had a really good car for the last two races of the weekend. I am very happy with the podium finish.”

Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam): “Yesterday, I had bad luck as I retired after an accident. Today, I had a good start and I was able to take the lead early in the race. The safety car intervention was rather annoying for me, because that made me lose my advantage over Lando. He attacked me from the slipstream right after the restart, so that I didn’t have a chance to defend. Later, my tyres degraded, but on the final lap, I still managed to overtake Callum and claim third place.”

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At the 7.004 kilometres long Spa-Francorchamps Formula 1 circuit, Lando Norris (Carlin) scored his fourth season victory in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. At the start, the Brit took the lead and won from Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix) and Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam).

For the Russian Force India junior driver, it was his first FIA Formula 3 European Championship podium finish. Günther remains in the lead of the drivers’ standings, but now has a new main rival with Lando Norris. The Brit, who is supported by the McLaren Formula 1 team and, like Mazepin, will be testing a Formula 1 car next week, now is 28 points down on Günther. 

At the start, Lando Norris converted his pole position into the race lead which he had to defend against Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) on the opening lap. At the end of the long Kemmel straight, Ilott then came off the track and collided with Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix) after which the latter retired. The safety car was deployed after the incident.

At the restart, Norris maintained his lead ahead of Maximilian Günther and Nikita Mazepin. While Norris pulled clear from the rest of the field and eventually drove a safe victory home, Mazepin stayed in Günther’s slipstream and finally overtook his opponent on lap seven. The Russian crossed the finish line in second place, Günther took the flag in third.

Especially in the midfield, there were tough position fights, some of them until the very end. Jehan Daruvala (Carlin) finished fourth ahead of Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing), Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam), Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing), Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin), Joel Eriksson (Motopark) and Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing).

Lando Norris (Carlin): “The weekend at Spa-Francorchamps went very well so far. I was in first place in every session so far and the race went very well right from the start. Once Nikita had overtaken Maximilian, he was able to slightly close up on me, but I managed to increase my speed, so that I could extend my lead again. At the end, I then concentrated on not making any mistakes and safely made it to the finish line.”

Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix): “My maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship podium finish was a long time coming, but now, I am very happy. In the opening stages, I just managed to avoid the accident with Callum and Jake and found myself in third place. Once I had overtaken Maximilian, I probably was a bit too eager and my tyres degraded. So far, my season and that of my team-mates was rather topsy-turvy. Now, we have to work to ensure that we are consistent front runners, but we are on a good way.”

Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam): “All in all, I have scored good points in this race. My start was good and I was second after the opening lap. Then, I wasn’t able to attack Lando because the balance of my car wasn’t perfect. That also was the reason that Nikita was able to overtake me a little bit later. For me, third place was all I could do.”

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Austrian Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin) won the second race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at Spa-Francorchamps.

At the 7.004 kilometres long Grand Prix track in the Ardennes, the great-grandson of the last Austrian emperor Karl I stood on the top step of the podium for the first time in the series. Joel Eriksson (Motopark) finished second in the 17th race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season, followed by Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam).

The German remains in the lead of the drivers’ standings from Lando Norris (Carlin), who retired after an accident on the opening lap. 

Lando Norris took the lead at the start, but collided with Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam) at the end of the long Kemmel straight and retired, as did the Chinese Ferrari junior driver. Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) returned from the opening lap as the race leader, but had to defend his position from the attacks by his team-mate Maximilian Günther.

The Brit only succeeded for one lap, then the German went past. A little bit later, Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix) also overtook his compatriot Callum Ilott. An entertaining five-way battle for the lead followed that, next to Günther, also included Ilott, Hughes, Jehan Daruvala (Carlin) and Ferdinand Habsburg. Later on, the Indian dropped out of this battle, so that a quartet of drivers remained in the battle for victory.

Habsburg, officially named Ferdinand Zvonimir Maria Balthus Keith Michael Antal Bahnam Leonhard, gradually worked his way up through the ranks and finally overtook Günther for the lead on lap twelve. After that, he drove a safe victory home.

Behind Habsburg, who had started from eighth place on the grid, Joel Eriksson took the flag in second. The Swede, who had started only twelfth, made up a total of ten positions and was rewarded with 18 championship points. These allowed him to move up within one point from runner-up Lando Norris.

In a race that also had numerous battles in the midfield, Maximilian Günther eventually came third.

Jake Hughes finished fourth from Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix), Jehan Daruvala, Callum Ilott, Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix), Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam) and Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing).

Due to a two second penalty imposed on Nikita Mazepin after the end of the race, the Russian ended up in seventh place and Daruvala and Ilott were promoted to fifth respectively sixth position.

Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin): “Winning an FIA Formula 3 European Championship race is a really nice feeling, especially at a track with such a long heritage as Spa-Francorchamps. The race was great fun and especially from lap ten onwards, I had a really good feeling. Then, I gave it everything and indeed, it was enough for victory.”

Joel Eriksson (Motopark): “This race was really entertaining. My start wasn’t good and the first few laps weren’t great either. Then, I said to myself that I had to keep cool, which I did. Later on, I managed to overtake one driver after another, which brought me up into second place. In this race, my car was much better than in the first race in which I had too much oversteer. Now, the balance was really good, which is also making me optimistic for the race tomorrow.”

Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam): “I have to admit that the two drivers in front of me were simply faster. Third place was all I could do. My start was good and I had a nice battle for the lead with Callum over many laps. I was in front for most of the time, but I couldn’t pull a gap. When Ferdinand and Joel attacked, I had no chance. Still, Lando Norris, one of my main rivals in the battle for the title, didn’t score any points, which is positive for me in terms of the drivers’ standings.”

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Lando Norris (Carlin) remains unbeatable at the 7.004 kilometres long Formula 1 circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. In second qualifying, he came out on top once more. Behind the Brit, who is supported by the McLaren Formula 1 team, Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) and Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam) ended up second and third respectively.

Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam), the leader in the drivers’ standings, was classified fourth. In the ranking of the second-fastest laps, used to determine the starting grid positions for the third race of the weekend, the order in the first four positions again was Norris from Ilott, Zhou and Günther. 

Starting grid race two 
Like in first qualifying, the asphalt at Spa-Francorchamps also was dry for second qualifying of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Around the halfway point, Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam, 2m12.457s) ranked on top, but Lando Norris (2m11.120s) soon toppled him.

As Callum Ilott (2m11.291s) came within a few thousandths of a second from the Carlin driver with only four minutes remaining, Norris upped the ante once more and extended his margin. Then, his second pole position of the weekend was no longer in danger.

Ilott was classified second from Guanyu Zhou (2m11.684s), Maximilian Günther (2m11.773s), Jakes Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix, 2m11.823s), Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix, 2m11.830s), Jehan Daruvala (Carlin, 2m11.891s), Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin, 2m11.921s), Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix, 2m11.942s) and Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing, 2m12.050s).

Starting grid race three 
The second-fastest lap for each driver is used as the basis for the starting grid positions for the third race. In this ranking, first place also went to Lando Norris (2m11.307s).

Callum Ilott (2m11.388s) was just 0.081 seconds slower than his British compatriot and ended up second. Guanyu Zhou (2m11.780s), Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam, 2m11.781s), Jakes Hughes (2m11.906s), Jehan Daruvala (2m11.912s), Ralf Aron (2m11.958s), Ferdinand Habsburg (2m11.959s), Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing, 2m12.210s) and Joel Eriksson (2m12.276s) rounded out the top ten.

Lando Norris (Carlin): “We managed to improve the car and in second qualifying, the track was also faster than in the first session. It was always clear that the times late in the afternoon would be faster than in first qualifying earlier on."

"This time, I also found a slipstream which I think was the key to both pole positions. I am very happy with this pair of first places, especially as this means that I have claimed all three pole positions at Spa. The three races will surely be a lot of fun.”