Norris doubles up at Spa as BRDC British Formula 3 title battle closes in
Chadwick +0.027s; 3 Ryan Hadfield; 4 Jonny Hadfield; 5 Jack Minshaw; 6 Nick Zapolski. Class winner Richard Evans. FL Chapman 2m49.517s (92.42mph). P Chapman. S 34.
1 Chadwick; 2 Chapman +0.336s; 3 R. Hadfield; 4 Mohammed Elsminy; 5 Andrew Richardson; 6 Matt Palmer. CW Adrian Campbell-smith. FL Chadwick 2m50.045s (92.14mph). P Chapman. S 35.
1 Chadwick; 2 Chapman +0.494s; 3 Minshaw; 4 Steven Wells; 5 Ian Robinson; 6 Palmer. FL Chadwick 2m50.466s (91.91mph). CW Evans. P Wells. S 35.
1 Dennis Strandberg (Scirocco); 2 Jack Walker-tully (Scirocco) +0.280s; 3 Bobby Thompson (Polo); 4 Phil House (Scirocco); 5 Toby Davis (Golf); 6 Kenan Dole (Golf). FL Walker-tully 2m46.091s (94.33mph). P Strandberg. S 16.
1 House; 2 Tom Witts (Golf) +1.874s; 3 Thompson; 4 Dole; 5 Kieran Gordon (Golf); 6 Benjamin Wallace (Golf). FL Walker-tully 2m46.206s (94.26mph) P Witts. S 16.
Lando Norris took an emphatic double victory on BRDC Formula 3’s away day at Spa, as the championship fight closed up further ahead of him.
Due to Norris’s Formula Renault commitments in Europe he won’t be a factor in this year’s F3 title hunt, but through him taking a handful of max scores across the season he is keeping the championship battle finely balanced as others squabble for lesser points.
Matheus Leist’s two second places behind Norris has closed the gap to championship leader Ricky Collard, who had an off-colour weekend. Collard could only take a podium in the first race, with two sixth places leaving him with a slender four-point lead over the Brazilian, and Australian Thomas Randle just 15 further back.
Norris’s first victory came in a fragmented first race, which was red-flagged early after a frightening accident for Quinlan Lall.
Norris grabbed pole with his last flying lap, but wasn’t particularly pleased with the result. “Due to these cars being quite high-downforce the tow here is worth the best part of a second to the chicane, so leading out of Eau Rouge isn’t actually the place you want to be,” he said.
Collard started second and looked to take advantage of the tow straight away, drawing alongside on the Kemmel Straight before having to back off when safety car boards came out after a clash behind at La Source.
The caution lasted only one lap and on the restart Collard was all over Norris and briefly edged ahead before Norris got a slingshot pass on the straight and then built a gap as Collard came under pressure from both Leist and Enaam Ahmed. Leist squeezed past along the Kemmel on lap five, and Ahmed took the opportunity to follow him through, demoting Collard to fourth at the chicane.
Collard was handed third back when the red flags flew as Akhil Rabindra and Lall clashed at Courbe Paul Frere and Lall’s car was flipped into the barriers. The American was taken to hospital for checks, but miraculously suffered just a sore knee.
Norris was denied more points in race two when he retired from sixth with a lap to go when his car stuck in gear, leaving the way clear for Randle and Toby Sowery to star. Randle was punted off in race one, and Sowery resigned to fifth having struggled with blistering tyres.
But both made up for their Friday disappointment with a great fight on Saturday morning. Randle started ninth on the reversed grid but put in a stunning opening lap to run fourth as third-place starter Tarun Reddy led Sowery and Ahmed. Randle then passed Ahmed before closing on the fighting leaders. Sowery snatched the lead with a fine move around the outside of Blanchimont, but couldn’t pull away.
“We were running marginally more wing than the others to try and make the most of sector two, but it was hurting on the straights,” said Sowery.
The top three ran as one before Randle slipped past Reddy with two laps to go and made a move for the lead into Les Combes on the last lap to snatch the win away from Sowery.
“It feels so good to be back on the top step, especially seeing as yesterday was a bit of a disaster,” Randle said. Reddy held third ahead of Ahmed, Leist and Collard.
Norris won a more sedate finale after passing poleman Will Palmer late on. Palmer lost ground in race one after being nerfed off and spent race two simply aiming for times to achieve pole for race three.
Palmer led much of the race before the higher temperatures and downforce settings on his HHC car combined to cook his Pirellis, allowing both Norris and Leist past in the closing laps. “I can’t complain with two wins at Spa, it’s all good experience for me,” said Norris.