Gunther emerges from Norisring chaos with first F3 win
Maximilian Gunther grabbed his first European Formula 3 win amid a chaotic ending to a crash-filled second encounter at the Norisring.
The German went from fourth place to the lead at the first hairpin in an opportunistic move, as Alex Albon arrived at the first corner too hot and pushed wide George Russell and Charles Leclerc in the dying stages after the fourth and final safety car restart.
Up until that point, polesitter Albon, barring a brief period in the opening stages when Russell took the advantage, had been in command of the race throughout, leading Russell, Leclerc and Gunther when the action resumed for the final time.
Championship leader Leclerc went on the attack against Russell immediately at the first hairpin, forcing the Brit off line in the process but setting him up to make a sensational move on Albon for the lead at the Esses.
Leclerc then forced his way by Albon for second at the following hairpin, and along the start/finish straight lined up Russell for a shot at passing for the lead – before the Anglo-Thai arrived too hot and pushed the pair wide, allowing Gunther to come through and claim victory.
Albon emerged with second ahead of Leclerc, while Russell was the biggest loser as he also slipped behind Ferrari junior Lance Stroll to finish fifth. Gunther’s Mucke Motorsport teammate Mikkel Jensen rounded out a top six consisting entirely of rookie drivers.
The top 10 finishers were rounded off by Gustavo Menezes, Dorian Boccolacci, Alessio Lorandi and Brandon Maisano, Tatiana Calderon narrowly missing out on her first points of the year in 12th.
A three-way melee at the first corner triggered the third of the four safety car periods, caused by Santino Ferrucci, then running in sixth, who arrived at the first hairpin too quickly and collected title contenders Antonio Giovinazzi and Jake Dennis in the process.
Felix Rosenqvist also suffered a race to forget as he was awarded a drive-through penalty for not forming on the grid correctly, dropping to the rear of the pack and finishing 17th.
The most spectacular mishap of the race befell Michele Beretta, who was turned upside down when he was tagged from behind Matt Solomon exiting the first hairpin, causing the second safety car.
|1||Maximilian Gunther||Mucke Motorsport||35'29.228|
|3||Charles Leclerc||Van Amersfoort Racing||1.034|
|4||Lance Stroll||Prema Powerteam ||1.906|
|6||Mikkel Jensen||Mucke Motorsport ||3.115|
|9||Alessio Lorandi||Van Amersfoort Racing||5.555|
|10||Brandon Maisano||Prema Powerteam ||6.001|
|14||Arjun Maini||Van Amersfoort Racing ||8.521|
|17||Felix Rosenqvist||Prema Powerteam ||11.768|
|23||Sergio Sette Camara||Motopark||38.349|
Leclerc dominates wet Norisring opener
Giovinazzi takes commanding win in Norisring finale