Lando Norris (Carlin) has secured this year’s FIA Formula Three European Championship after finishing Race 1 in second place behind Joel Eriksson (Motopark).
At the start, Norris lost second place to the Swedish driver, who then went on to take the lead after pole sitter Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) ran wide at Turn 2, which subsequently compromised his exit out of Turn 4 and onto the straight approaching the hairpin.
As a result, Eriksson used his momentum to pass down the outside of Ilott at the hairpin to take the lead.
However, Ilott attempted to reclaim the position into Turn 8, but Eriksson defended the position and forced the British driver to the outside line. Norris then saw the gap and went down the inside of Ilott and the two cars banged wheels, resulting in Ilott to off track and allowing Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin) to move into second place.
Although the stewards did investigate the incident during the race, no action was taken.
Once the leading pack had begun to settle, Habsburg went well wide of Norris at the hairpin, to allow the McLaren junior into second and pursue after Eriksson for the race win.
However, despite getting within a second of the lead car, Norris couldn’t get close enough and had to settle for second behind Eriksson, with Habsburg completing the podium in third.
After the race, Eriksson discussed his dominant victory: “My race was really good. Admittedly, my start was worse that Callum’s but I was able to slot in ahead of Lando. On the opening lap, I had a good slipstream in the run to the hairpin and I overtook Callum on the outside. Then, I concentrated on pulling a gap and maintaining it. Now, I am second in the drivers’ standings and I will do everything to ensure that I will be there at the end of the season as well.”
Regardless of his failure to win the race, the second place was enough for Norris to secure the Drivers’ Championship. Here is what he said about winning the title: “Of course, I am happy that I am now the FIA Formula Three European Champion, even though I wanted to do it at Spielberg. Prior to the season, my team [Carlin] and I didn’t expect to win the title, but we worked hard and this is the well-deserved reward.”
Norris also mentioned his title rivals: “However, my rivals, first and foremost Maximilian Günther, also made things pretty difficult for me. This title probably is the most important one in my career so far. In this race, my start wasn’t really good, so I dropped back to third.”
“When I then wanted to overtake Callum, we slightly tangled, allowing Ferdinand to get past the two of us into second place. When he made a mistake later on, I was able to overtake him again. Against Joel, I didn’t have a chance anymore, our pace was too similar.”
Behind them, Ilott claimed fourth ahead of Jehan Daruvala (Carlin) in fifth. Nikita Mazepin (Hitech GP) managed to come home in sixth, closely followed by Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing), Ralf Aron and Tadasuke Makino (Hitech GP).
Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) entered the weekend knowing he needed to win all three races to keep his slim chances of winning the championship alive. However, following qualifying he started the first race in twelfth. Consequently, the German struggled to make his way up the field and after going wide on two separate occasions, he finished in a distant tenth, just ahead of countryman and team-mate Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam).
FIA Formula Three Round Twenty-Eight Starting Grid:
|1 Callum Ilott (GBR), Prema Powerteam, 1:31.646||2 Lando Norris (GBR), Carlin, 1:31.805|
|3 Joel Eriksson (SWE), Motopark, 1:31.811||4 Jehan Daruvala (IND), Carlin, 1:31.853|
|5 Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT), Carlin, 1:31.914||6 Tadasuke Makino (JPN), Hitech GP, 1:31.915|
|7 Pedro Piquet (BRA), Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:31.930||8 Jake Hughes (GBR), Hitech GP, 1:31.935|
|9 Nikita Mazepin (RUS), Hitech GP, 1:31.989||10 Guanyu Zhou (CHN), Prema Powerteam, 1:32.015|
|11 Ralf Aron (EST), Hitech GP, 1:32.034||12 Maximilian Günther (GER), Prema Powerteam, 1:32.075|
|13 Mick Schumacher (GER), Prema Powerteam, 1:32.206||14 Felipe Drugovich (BRA), Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:32.230|
|15 Joey Mawson (AUS), Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:32.262||16 Harrison Newey (GBR), Van Amersfoort Racing|
|17 David Beckmann (GER), Motopark, 1:32.527||18 Devlin DeFrancesco (CDN), Carlin, 1:32.597|
|19 Keyvan Andres Soori (GER), Motopark, 1:32.603||20 Marino Sato (JPN), Motopark, 1:32.993|
|21 Juri Vips (EST), Motopark, 1:33.275|
FIA Formula Three Round Twenty-Eight Official Classification:
|Pos.||Driver (Nationality), Team||Laps||Time/Reason for Retirement|
|1||Joel Eriksson (SWE), Motopark||23||35:45.712|
|2||Lando Norris (GBR), Carlin||23||+0.725|
|3||Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT), Carlin||23||+3.988|
|4||Callum Ilott (GBR), Prema Powerteam||23||+9.036|
|5||Jehan Daruvala (IND), Carlin||23||+12.520|
|6||Nikita Mazepin (RUS), Hitech GP||23||+15.639|
|7||Pedro Piquet (BRA), Van Amersfoort Racing||23||+17.218|
|8||Ralf Aron (EST), Hitech GP||23||+17.815|
|9||Tadasuke Makino (JPN), Hitech GP||23||+19.436|
|10||Maximilian Günther (GER), Prema Powerteam||23||+25.250|
|11||Mick Schumacher (GER), Prema Powerteam||23||+25.928|
|12||Jake Hughes (GBR), Hitech GP||23||+28.740|
|13||Guanyu Zhou (CHN), Prema Powerteam||23||+31.647|
|14||Harrison Newey (GBR), Van Amersfoort Racing||23||+32.448|
|15||Joey Mawson (AUS), Van Amersfoort Racing||23||+35.521; five second penalty for abusing track limits|
|16||Felipe Drugovich (BRA), Van Amersfoort Racing||23||+36.441|
|17||David Beckmann (GER), Motopark||23||+37.271|
|18||Marino Sato (JPN), Motopark||23||+38.405|
|19||Devlin DeFrancesco (CDN), Carlin||23||+42.363|
|20||Keyvan Andres Soori (GER), Motopark||23||+44.579|
|21||Juri Vips (EST), Motopark||23||+45.207|