European F3: Round 3 (Race 1) – Pau Grand Prix

Source: FIA Formula Three European Championship

Joel Eriksson (Motopark) won round seven of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship to extend his lead at the top of the standings, just managing to hold off title rival Lando Norris (Carlin) at the chequered flag.

The race started under yellow flag conditions after the supporting Formula Renault EuroCup race, which took place in wet conditions, experienced numerous crashes on the opening lap. With the track still damp, the pre-caution was put into place.

Pole-sitter Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) lead into Turn 1 with Eriksson overtaking Norris for second.

The Swede didn’t have to wait long to inherit the lead as Ilott understeered wide at the exit of Buisson, his front left wheel hitting the barrier and causing enough damage to send the Briton out of the race.

Shortly after, Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam) crashed at Buisson, leading to the first appearance of the Safety Car.

The race restarted with just over 16 minutes left on the clock. Assisted by slipstreaming, Jake Dennis (Carlin) went around the outside of third placed Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing) into Turn 1.

He was then hit by the Aussie and opened the door for Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam), but Hughes had the inside line for Turn 3 and maintained fourth place.

As light rain began to reach the narrow street circuit, Jake Hughes (Hitech GP) crashed on entry to the first chicane.

At the front, Norris was slowly closing to Eriksson but struggled to find a way through. Then, at the Parc Beaumont corner, Mawson crashed heavily after understeering into the barrier on the slippery track surface with Dennis following him, damaging his front wheel.

As Günther went around Dennis’ stricken car at the first chicane, the two cars touched, but it was only light front wing damage for Günther and he moved up to third.

After the debris from Mawson’s car was cleared, the Safety Car released the pack with two laps remaining, which saw Eriksson and Norris pull away from the rest of the field.

Norris was magnetised to Eriksson’s rear wing but failed to force a move past. Eriksson held on to the win by 0.243 seconds, with Günther third, and Nikita Mazepin and Ralf Aron (both Hitech GP) rounding up the top five.  

Speaking after the race, Eriksson spoke of why the victory in Pau was important.

I’m really happy because my goal this season was to win on this track because the track is really nice and is really fun to drive as well. So, at the moment, I’m really happy to get up to this goal.”

Eriksson added: “But the race pace was really good. The start was, for sure, one of the best in the top of the drivers, and then I made a move in corner one on Lando Norris. It was really tough, but I (had) already planned it in my head and I stick to the plan and I did it.”

After the race, Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam) and Ferdinand Hadsburg (Carlin) were both investigated by stewards for overtaking under the yellow flags. Schumacher was deemed to have done so and dropped to ninth in the final classification behind Hadsburg.

Full Classification:

Pos. Driver (Nationality), Team Lap Gap
1 Joel Eriksson (SWE), Motopark 23
2 Lando Norris (GBR), Carlin 23 +0.243
3 Maximilian Günther (GER), Prema Powerteam 23 +2.636
4 Nikita Mazepin (RUS), Hitech GP 23 +3.560
5 Ralf Aron (EST), Hitech GP 23 +3.970
6 Harrison Newey (GBR), Van Amersfoort Racing 23 +4.564
7 Pedro Piquet (BRA), Van Amersfoort Racing 23 +5.383
8 Ferdinand Hadsburg (AUT), Carlin 23 +6.637
9 Mick Schumacher (GER), Prema Motorsport 23 Penalty
10 Jehan Daruvala (IND), Carlin 23 +7.201
11 David Beckmann (GER), Van Amersfoort Racing 23 +8.229
12 Keyvan Andres (GER), Motopark 23 +9.071
13 Tadasuke Makino (JPN), Hitech GP 23 +9.616
14 Marino Sato (JPN), Motopark 23 +10.537
Not Classified
Joey Mawson (AUS), Van Amersfoort Racing 17 +6 laps
Jake Dennis (GBR), Carlin 17 +6 laps
Jake Hughes (GBR), Hitech GP 16 +7 laps
Guanyu Zhou (CHN), Prema Powerteam 4 +19 laps
Callum Ilott (GBR), Prema Powerteam 1 +22 laps