Swedish driver Joel Eriksson (Motopark) had to wait for a while before he was fastest in qualifying for the fourth time this year. In Styria in Austria, it finally happened: at the 4.318 kilometres long Red Bull Ring, he came out on top in second qualifying of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and will be allowed to start the 26th race of the season from pole position as a result. Lando Norris (Carlin), the FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ leader, was only three thousandths of a second slower than Eriksson and ended up second in qualifying. Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix), Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) and Jehan Daruvala (Carlin) were next up. In the ranking of the second-fastest lap times, used to determine the starting grid positions for the third race of the weekend, the order in the first five places was Eriksson from Norris, Ilott, Mazepin and Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix).
Starting grid race two
In the battle for pole position for the second race of the weekend, Joel Eriksson (1m23.431s) moved up into first place just after the halfway point of qualifying, he toppled Lando Norris (1m23.434s) from the top position. After that, none of his rivals were able to match the time of the Swede, who won the title of best rookie in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship last year. With five minutes remaining, Callum Ilott (1m23.731s) moved up into second place, but, unlike Eriksson, turned out to be unable to hold on to his position. 90 seconds before the end of the session, Lando Norris managed to improve his lap time which promoted him ahead of his compatriot again. At the very last moment, McLaren junior driver Norris improved once more, but had to admit defeat to BMW junior Eriksson, albeit by only 0.003 seconds. As Nikita Mazepin (1m23.684s) also still moved up into the top three in the final stages, Callum Ilott eventually ended up in fourth place. Jehan Daruvala (1m23.748s), Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix, 1m23.767s), Ralf Aron (1m23.770s), Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin, 1m23.780s), Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam, 1m23.826s) and Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam, 1m23.829s) rounded out the top ten.
Starting grid race three
Eriksson (1m23.545s) also came out on top in the ranking of the second-fastest lap times. Therefore, he will also be starting from the best grid position for the 27th race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season. Lando Norris (1m23.650s) will be starting from second place on the grid, followed by Callum Ilott (1m23.756s), Nikita Mazepin (1m23.781s), Ralf Aron (1m23.841s), Maximilian Günther (1m23.878s), Ferdinand Habsburg (1m23.889s), Tadasuke Makino (Hitech Grand Prix, 1m23.916s), Jehan Daruvala (1m23.918s) and Jake Hughes (1m23.931s).
Joel Eriksson (Motopark): “The qualifying was great, my fastest lap was perfect. I was really at the limit, I don’t think I could have gone any faster. My car was really good, too. In the race this morning, we were still having some problems, but we were able to solve them before qualifying. With a good start into tomorrow’s two races, my chances should be good. I will be doing my utmost to win both races tomorrow.”