Joel Eriksson returns to winning ways

Joel 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. 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.”