Lance Stroll is the new FIA Formula 3 European Champion

With his tenth victory of the season, Canadian Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) crowned himself early as the new FIA Formula 3 European Champion at the 4.909 kilometres long Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari and thus follows in the footsteps of Swede Felix Rosenqvist. The 17-year-old development driver of the Williams Formula 1 team scored an undisputed lights-to-flag victory, even unfazed by three safety car interventions. Behind the new FIA Formula 3 European Champion, Joel Eriksson (Motopark) crossed the finish line in second as the best-placed rookie, followed by British driver George Russell (HitechGP).    

Having started from pole position, Lance Stroll took the lead at the start and built up an advantage of almost one and a half seconds on the opening lap already. On lap two, Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) spun into the gravel trap and retired, prompting the safety car to be deployed. After the restart, race leader Stroll immediately pulled away again while Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark) worked his way past Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing) into fifth place after a fierce battle.

On lap eight, Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) retired after an accident, resulting in the second safety car intervention. At the next restart, Stroll again did the best job and kept his leading position from George Russell, who had to hand his second position to a charging Joel Eriksson after a duel just a little bit later. Further down the field, Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP) and Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) slid through the gravel trap and dropped out of the top ten as a result.

On lap 15, David Beckmann (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) spun out of sixth place and hit the barriers, which caused the third safety car intervention. At the third restart, Lance Stroll remained in control again and held on to his lead from Eriksson and Russell. In this order, the trio crossed the finish line after 19 laps, which was enough for Lance Stroll to wrap up the FIA Formula 3 European Championship title early. Ralf Aron (Prema Powerteam), Guanyu Zhou (Motopark), Anthoine Hubert (Van Amersfoort Racing), Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam), Harrison Newey, Niko Kari (Motopark) and Mikkel Jensen rounded out the top ten. The tenth-placed Dane only overtook his Russian rival Nikita Mazepin (HitechGP) in the final lap to prevent the third top ten finish of the year for the protégé of the Force India Formula 1 team.

Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam): “At the start, I was able to hold on to first place, which was very important for me. After that, I managed to pull a gap, but I lost my margin every time due to the three safety car interventions. On the final laps, I didn’t want to take too many risks anymore, because I didn’t want to jeopardize my early title win. Being able to call myself the new FIA Formula 3 European Champion is a fantastic feeling, I can’t find any words to describe it. This season hasn’t been easy, because the opposition was really strong. I always had to stay focussed and work for this success together with my team. Now, I am really happy.”

Joel Eriksson (Motopark): “At the start, I was able to take second place, but I made a little mistake at the end of the first lap, allowing George to overtake me out of the slipstream. Later on, I was able to take back second place, but I didn’t have any real possibilities to attack Lance. Especially in the second sector, he was faster, but we aren’t giving up and we will continue to work to get better.”

George Russell (HitechGP): “In the opening stages, I managed to take second place from Joel, but I had no chance when he countered after the second safety car intervention, because here, his car was faster than mine on the straights. At the next restart, I didn’t have a possibility to move up into second place again either.”