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Sep 24

Joel Eriksson returns to winning ways

“My start was perfect. On the opening lap, I had to defend my lead, but it was a relatively calm race after that” – Eriksson 

F3 - Joel Eriksson returns to winning waysJoel Eriksson (Motopark) scored a lights-to-flag victory at the 4.318 kilometres long Red Bull Ring, his fifth win in the 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship season.

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Event: 09 Spielberg
Session: Race 2
Track: Red Bull Ring / AUT
Pole position: Joel Eriksson (Motopark)
Race winner: Joel Eriksson (Motopark)
Weather: sunny, slightly cloudy, 18.0 °C

Behind the Swedish BMW junior driver, whose most recent victory to date came in Hungary in mid-June, Brit Lando Norris (Carlin) finished second. Russian driver Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix) secured third place. Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam), who is the only remaining rival of McLaren-backed Norris in the battle for the title after this race, was classified seventh and is now 82 points down on championship leader Norris.

Joel Eriksson started from pole position and immediately took the lead. Lando Norris slotted in behind him, followed by Nikita Mazepin and Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam). The Brit put Mazepin under pressure, particularly in the opening stages of the race, but was unable to find a way past the Force India protégé. Thus, Mazepin secured his second podium finish in this year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship season. Only race winner Joel Eriksson and second-placed Lando Norris finished ahead of him.

In the race that didn’t have too much action, the positions behind Ilott were also taken quite early. Jehan Daruvala (Carlin), who, like Mazepin, is supported by the Force India Formula 1 team, finished as the second-best rookie in fifth place, followed by Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix) and Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix). Due to causing Habsburg to go off track in the last lap, Hughes was penalised with a ten second time penalty after the race, thus only classified in 13th position.

Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin), the only Austrian in the field, was in eighth place until the final lap, but lost his position to Maximilian Günther. Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing) also overtook the 20-year-old, so that Habsburg eventually crossed the line in tenth place. Due to the penalty imposed on Jake Hughes those three drivers were promoted by one position each. The one point awarded for finishing in tenth place was inherited by Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam).

Joel Eriksson (Motopark): “My start was perfect. On the opening lap, I had to defend my lead, but it was a relatively calm race after that. I tried to save my tyres, but I was still able to keep a good speed. The only minor issue I had during the race is that I lost my right rear-view mirror. Otherwise, it was a smooth affair.”

Lando Norris (Carlin): “On the opening lap, I tried to overtake Joel, but he had the better position and did a good job in defending his lead. After that, I didn’t have a possibility to attack him, especially as it was also difficult to follow him closely. As there wasn’t much I could do, I am also happy with second place.”

Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix): “I am happy to be on the podium for the second time this year. Since the middle of the season, we have solved the problems we were having at the beginning of the year. Recently, however, I had a lot of bad luck and was punted off in good positions more than once. I am all the happier that my string of bad luck is now over. At the start of the race, I tried to attack Lando, but then I had to defend my position from Callum. After that, it was relatively quiet until the end.”

source: FIA F3, fiaf3europe.com

 

CHAMPAGNE CELEBRATIONS ON HOLD FOR EURO F3 CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER NORRIS

IA Formula 3 European Championship leader Lando Norris heads for the final event next month within touching distance of winning the title. The 17-year-old British driver had placed his Carlin prepared Dallara-Volkswagen fourth and second at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. But in the final race this weekend (23-24 Sep) and on the last lap with the championship all but secured, Norris was hit from behind when defending second place. The McLaren-Honda Young Driver now has 411pts with his nearest title challenger Maximilian Günther, trailing by 72pts. A maximum of 75pts are at stake at the Hockenheim finale in Germany.

Norris started Race 1 yesterday morning from the second row of the 20-car grid in cool but sunny conditions after an ultra-close qualifying session the previous evening. He slipped to fifth place on lap one after challenging for third and ultimately forced his way into fourth two laps from home bringing an end to a seven-race run of podiums. This morning’s race saw Norris start from the front row – denied a ninth pole-position of the season by a mere 0.003secs – and was alongside pole-sitter Joel Eriksson on numerous occasions around the opening lap of the fast and sweeping 2.69-mile track. Lando remained on the tail of the Swede – always within one second for the opening 17-laps – eventually taking the chequered flag second, 0.896secs behind Eriksson having also set the fastest race lap.

Another front row start for Race 3 from alongside Eriksson, the pair battled side-by-side for the opening lap and a half. Lando remained in Eriksson’s wheeltracks, a second place being enough to secure the title. But on lap 19 of the 24-lap race, Norris clipped the rear of Eriksson, tearing off the end-plate on Lando’s front right wing. The subsequent loss in downforce allowed third-placed Ralf Aron to challenge Norris on the penultimate lap but the Estonian “locked up” under braking and hit the back of Norris, both cars retiring in the gravel trap. The final three races are staged at Hockenheim over 14-15 October.

Lando Norris (GB): Born: Bristol, England. Aged 17.
“I really wanted to clinch the championship here today but after making two mistakes, I must now wait until Hockenheim. I made an error under braking and touched the back of Joel’s car that damaged my front wing. I then wanted to finish on the podium too badly and got myself involved in a collision. In hindsight, I should have let Ralf go through. Although I feel devastated, not for me but for the team, I take a 72pt advantage to Hockenheim so all is far from lost.

“Qualifying on Friday was a disappointment. My car had a handling imbalance and I was slowed with understeer. The Carlin guys made some changes overnight which improved things for Race 1. I made a good start but dropped a place fighting for third. With two laps to go I managed to squeeze into fourth. I tried hard on the opening lap to get ahead of Joel in Race 2. My pace was good but he [Eriksson] made no mistakes – I was happy with second. I again made a good start in Race 3, the car felt really good until I hit Joel, the damaged front wing causing massive understeer.”

source: landonorris.com

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