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Charles Leclerc wins first race at soaking wet Norisring

by Peter Allen
Charles Leclerc

Photo: FIA F3 European Championship

Charles Leclerc extended his FIA F3 European Championship lead with victory in torrential rain in the opening race of the weekend at the Norisring.

Leclerc led from pole position, with the field released after three laps behind the safety car.

Alex Albon took second away from Maximilian Gunther at the first corner and he and Leclerc began to pull away from the rest.

Albon however would later drop to fifth when he ran deep at Turn 1, needing to find reverse in order to get going again after stopping just short of the tyre barriers. The Lotus F1 junior starts the weekend’s remaining two races from pole.

As Gunther was passed by title contenders Antonio Giovinazzi and Felix Rosenqvist, Leclerc opened up an eight-second lead before the safety car appeared.

It was required after Spa double winner Jake Dennis – who began the race as Leclerc’s nearest rival – parked up at the end of the main straight minus his front wing, which was then collected by Giovinazzi as the Italian went off line to get slowed down for the safety car ahead.

While Giovinazzi used the kerb at Turn 1 to eventually shed the debris, the safety car remained out on track until the clock ran down.

Leclerc therefore picked up his fourth win of the season, ahead of Giovinazzi and Rosenqvist.

Gunther took fourth ahead of Albon and his Signature team-mate Dorian Boccolacci. The top 10 was completed by Gustavo Menezes, Lance Stroll, Markus Pommer and George Russell.

Race results
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Charles Leclerc Van Amersfoort Racing 30 laps in 35:41.741
2 Antonio Giovinazzi Carlin +0.769
3 Felix Rosenqvist Prema Powerteam +5.703
4 Maximilian Gunther Mucke Motorsport +6.410
5 Alex Albon Signature +7.526
6 Dorian Boccolacci Signature +7.998
7 Gustavo Menezes Carlin +9.369
8 Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam +9.864
9 Markus Pommer Motopark +11.196
10 George Russell Carlin +12.734
11 Callum Ilott Carlin +13.199
12 Mikkel Jensen Mucke Motorsport +14.493
13 Ryan Tveter Carlin +15.350
14 Tatiana Calderon Carlin +16.603
15 Sergio Sette Camara Motopark +16.955
16 Sam MacLeod Motopark +17.413
17 Alessio Lorandi Van Amersfoort Racing +17.546
18 Julio Moreno T-Sport +20.150
19 Pietro Fittipaldi Fortec Motorsports +20.311
20 Brandon Maisano Prema Powerteam +1 lap
21 Kang Ling Mucke Motorsport +1 lap
22 Nicolas Pohler Double R Racing +1 lap
23 Matt Rao Fortec Motorsports +1 lap
24 Nabil Jeffri Motopark +1 lap
25 Mahaveer Raghunathan Motopark +2 laps
26 Fabian Schiller West-Tec +2 laps
Not classified
Jake Dennis Prema Powerteam +13 laps
Santino Ferrucci Mucke Motorsport +13 laps
Matt Solomon Double R Racing +14 laps
Raoul Hyman West-Tec +17 laps
Arjun Maini Van Amersfoort Racing +18 laps
Michele Beretta Mucke Motorsport +20 laps