Spa F3: Norris sweeps qualifying for triple pole
McLaren-Honda protege Lando Norris completed a perfect day at Spa-Francorchamps by claiming pole position for all three Formula 3 European Championship races in Belgium.
Norris beat Callum Ilott by 0.225s in the first qualifying, which was the first dry session of the weekend as both practice sessions, also headed by Norris, were wet.
Ilott's lap was good enough to plant his Prema Powerteam car on the front row, with Jake Hughes completing an all-British top three on the grid of race 1.
While the gap got closer in the second session, it was once again Norris setting the pace, beating Ilott by 0.171s this time.
Ilott got even closer on second-best times, his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes finishing 0.081s adrift of Norris.
Norris felt the small benefit of a tow from rapid Ferrari junior Guan Yu Zhou – who ended up third on the grid of both race 2 and 3 – on both of his quick laps; he was close enough to pick up some slipstream, but not so close that he lost time in the downforce-dependent middle sector.
“The tow wasn’t amazing, but it was maybe worth a few tenths over the whole lap,” Norris said.
“It’s better to get a small tow than to get screwed in the middle sector.
“The car felt much better [than in first qualifying] – we made some improvements and the track also improved a lot, but Callum was a bit close!”
The second row will be completed by Maximilian Gunther in all three races, as the points leader was classified fourth in both sessions.
Nikita Mazepin, who was quick at Spa in 2016, kept up his form on the Belgian circuit to put his Hitech car fifth for Race 1, followed by Jehan Daruvala, Ralf Aron and Harrison Newey, the trio gaining a position each after Zhou, originally sixth, got a three-place penalty for blocking Joey Mawson.
Hitech's Hughes will start both Race 2 and 3 from fifth, ahead of Mazepin and Daruvala respectively.
Title contender Joel Eriksson endured a difficult day along with the rest of Motopark's outfit, as the Swede will start 12th in the first two races before kicking off the final contest in 10th.
Where are Indians racing this weekend (July 28-30)
Spa F3: Norris wins Race 1 as rivals stumble