Norris takes light to flag victory
Lando Norris has claimed a brilliant lights to flag victory for Carlin at Zandvoort in the first race of the FIA F3 European Championship weekend. The McLaren-Honda Young Driver enjoyed a speedy start from the pole position, dealt well with a safety car period and pulled a great gap to take victory with a margin of almost nine seconds over his closest rival as the flag fell. Despite initially losing out from his front row start on a slightly damp area of the grid, Ferdinand Habsburg recovered well to finish in fourth position in race full of brilliant defending from the Austrian racer.
Despite predicted rain this morning the circuit was mainly dry having experienced a heavy shower overnight instead. Lining up on their slick tyres the grid was soon released to race at which point Norris enjoyed a lightning start to lead in to the first corner. Habsburg was slightly slower away and dropped to fifth however the big story from the first lap was that of contact between Guanyu Zhou, Ralf Aron and David Beckmann which left the latter upside down and in the gravel trap. Thankfully Beckmann walked away himself from the accident however the safety car was released on track for the next few laps.
With the incident removed, the F3 drivers were able to race and Norris dealt well with the restart to hold the lead while Habsburg was able to improve in to fourth position over Callum Ilott. Over the next few laps the field began to stretch out somewhat before Habsburg and Ilott began battling for position. The Prema Powerteam driver tried hard to slingshot past the Austrian racer however Habsburg was strong in his defending tactics. Their battle continued to rage lap on lap before Ilott backed off eventually leaving the Carlin man to resume his chase of those ahead.
Norris was in a dominant position leading the race – continuing to pull a strong gap the Carlin man crossed the line to take his sixth victory of the 2017 season having pulled an advantage of nearly nine seconds over Joel Eriksson (Motopark) and Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam).
“Zandvoort is a difficult circuit to overtake on so qualifying yesterday gave me the advantage and meant that I could start from pole so didn’t have to worry about that. It’s a shame not to have Ferdinand up here with me because he was really unlucky off the line with the slightly damp side of the grid. My restart wasn’t the best after the safety car and I got a bit of a flat spot however it didn’t seem to affect me too much. Our pace was good overall and the car felt improved since yesterday too. I’m happy that we got the win with a good winning margin and I felt comfortable out there”, Norris said of victory.