It was the first race at the former French Grand Prix circuit near Marseille that ended in an all-British podium as Althorne’s Harrison Scott headed home Norris and Horsham’s Will Palmer – the younger brother of Renault Sport F1 Team driver Jolyon Palmer.
Palmer had led away initially only for Scott and Norris to slip by and become embroiled in an intense battle for the lead. Scott held on by little more than a tenth of a second for his third win of the year…
Scott, who started from pole position for the AVF by Adrian Valles team, said: “With such high temperatures, it was hard to get a good start and I was overtaken at the start. I was then able to draft Will and make the most of a mistake to retake the lead. The race was quite intense because Lando was really pressuring me. As soon as I built up a small lead, he was always able to make up ground.”
In race two Scott and Palmer could finish only ninth and tenth in race two (Scott after a spin) but Norris kept up the momentum with a fifth win of the season for the Josef Kaufmann Racing team.
The 16-year-old finished ahead of Belgium’s Max Defourny (R-ace GP) and France’s Dorian Boccolacci (TECH 1 RACING). Only they and Scott can now stop Norris becoming Champion – he leads second-placed Defourny by 36.5 points with a maximum of 100 available from the final four rounds at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium (24-25 Sept) and Estoril in Portugal (22-23 Oct).
In theory he could be crowned the provisional Champion at Spa.
After his race two win at Paul Ricard, Norris commented: “I didn’t get a great start and Max was by my side at turn one, but I was able to hold him off. The goal was then to stay ahead while also making the most of our good race pace, which we saw yesterday.
“I avoided mistakes and I am thrilled with the progress we’ve made on our race performance. What awaits us will also be hard. Max was fast at Spa in the North European Championship last month, but I will do my best to take the title.”