Norris Victorious Again at Spa
Carlin’s Lando Norris has won the third and final FIA Formula Three European Championship race at Spa ensuring a clean sweep of Carlin victories this weekend following his and Ferdinand Habsburg’s pair of wins yesterday. Norris, who started fourth on the grid, fought his way to the front in the opening laps of the race and never looked back to secure not only his fifth race win of the 2017 season but also ensured that Carlin have taken five successive victories. Jehan Daruvala also enjoyed a solid race securing strong points in fifth while Habsburg crossed the line in sixth, just behind his team mate. Celebrating his birthday today Ameya Vaidyanathan took the flag in 15th overall.
As the lights went out for race three it was a nice clean start for the entire field as the cars made their way through La Source and up Eau Rouge. Norris however was looking feisty and hoping to make his way back to the front of the field after a grid drop left him out of position. On the first lap the McLaren-Honda Young Driver had already gained a position on pole sitter Callum Ilott who had lost out initially at the start and fell back. By this point the Carlin man up to third before he began battling well with Maximilian Gunter on the next lap to take second place as his own.
The British racer then turned his attention to race leader Guanyu Zhou setting the fastest lap of the race in the process. Meanwhile Daruvala was also making progress through the field in to fifth while Habsburg was ninth and Vaidyanathan P17. However the race would be neutralised following an incident in which Gunter and Jake Hughes came together requiring a safety car to be brought on track. This in turn cut the gaps between cars and saw Norris move up close to the race leader while Daruvala moved up to 4th, Habsburg 7th and Vaidyanathan 15th.
Upon the restart Norris remained close to Zhou tucking in behind as the pair made their way up Eau Rouge – Norris took advantage of the tow, pulled out to take the inside line and consequently the lead of the race. Meanwhile Daruvala and Habsburg maintained position in fourth and seventh respectively with Vaidyanathan 16th however Daruvala soon had company in the form of Joel Eriksson who took fourth as his own.
Over the next few laps Norris continued to hold his gap nicely at the very front despite having Prema Powerteam driver Ilott behind him looking to gain position with just over ten minutes left of the race. Soon enough the pressure changed as a fast charging Eriksson made his way past Ilott and began chasing the Carlin driver. As it was, Norris was unable to be challenged for the lead of the race and crossed the line with a great advantage over second placed Eriksson to take his fifth victory of the season, second of the weekend and fifth consecutive victory for the Carlin team. Daruvala crossed the line in fifth, Habsburg sixth and Vaidyanathan 15th.
Reflecting on the race Norris said, “Race two yesterday didn’t so well and up until then it had been a really strong weekend for us however I made up for that with the win today. It was actually quite a fun race out there and fourth wasn’t a bad place to start either. I got a good start and the first three laps in particular were really fun; it would have been nicer without the safety car to have to fight a little more however it was a great race and a strong amount of points too. We’ve closed in on the championship this weekend too so we have to be pleased with that.”