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“FIA F3: Norris takes Monza opener”

April 29, 2017

Lando Norris took his 2nd win of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship at Monza this morning, winning out following a frantic battle with Carlin teammate Jehan Daruvala.

Ferdinand Habsburg made it a Carlin 1-2-3 following his own tight fight with Joel Eriksson, Guan Yu Zhou, Mick Schumacher, Jake Dennis and Callum Ilott.

From the front row, Norris got a good start initially, but bogged down as he went through the gears, allowing poleman Daruvala to escape into an early lead. Norris fell to 4th, behind Dennis and Habsburg, with Ilott also pressing the Carlin man from behind.

From there, Norris scraped with Habsburg and pushed by the Austrian on lap 2, before Dennis missed the Retifilo chicane on the following tour, with Norris assuming 2nd place once Dennis rejoined the circuit.
Dennis continued to press Norris however and the pair swapped positions again on lap 5, with Habsburg also getting in ahead of Norris on the same lap. Habsburg himself then fell two positions on the sixth tour, bringing Norris to 3rd, and then 2nd when he took Dennis a lap later.

Norris then recorded three fastest laps in a row, shrinking Daruvala’s lead from 2.4s to 1.5 by the halfway point in the race. The gap continued to close in the laps afterward, with Norris closing to within half-a-second on lap 14.
Thereafter the Briton continued to push and pressure his Carlin stablemate, with Daruvala becoming more and more defensive, until Norris finally slipped through to the lead in the first chicane on lap 16.
Daruvala did not allow Norris to escape however and the Indian held close to the new leader, but was unable to get close enough, as he dropped vital time through Ascari in the remaining laps.

With Daruvala unable to close the gap, Norris took the win, but just by 0.6s, while the trailing Habsburg secured his first podium – and points – some four seconds further back.
The win gives Norris joint championship lead with Eriksson; both of whom have taken 67 points, some 22 ahead of Ilott and Maxi Günther.

For Habsburg, it seemed as if the race had gone away from him. Falling to 6th on lap six, the Austrian passed Ilott on lap seven and then did the same to Dennis two circulations later.
Thereafter Habsburg chased Eriksson close, but only lost the podium spot on lap 17, when he locked up at the Roggia chicane, allowing Habsburg through. Eriksson stayed close to the rookie, but was unable to force his way back through and trailed Habsburg by just 0.4s over the line.

There was a larger gap to Zhou, who claimed 5th after a long battle with Schumacher, Dennis, Ilott and – later – Günther. The group effectively circulated as a gap for much of the race and changed positions with each other on several occasions, but did so in a clean manner and without unnecessary contact.
As they crossed the line, Zhou headed Schumacher by just 0.6s, while Günther ended the day 7th, just 1.3s further behind. It marked a solid result for Günther, who had started the race back in 14th.

Dennis was amidst the group until a late tap from Günther forced the Carlin man to the pits and out of the race, while after a good early push and fight with Habsburg, Ilott’s pace faded, and he began to slip down the order, eventually finishing 9th.
In between Günther and Ilott, Ralf Aron sneaked up to take 8th place, while Jake Hughes climbed back to 10th, following a bad start that dropped him to the lower reaches of the pack.

David Beckmann pulled out after just seven laps with a technical issue, while Pedro Piquet also retired following a clash with Keyvan Andres Soori two laps from the end. Piquet was involved in an earlier incident with Joey Mawson, which resulted in a drive through penalty for the Australian.

© FIA.

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