Joel Eriksson (Motopark) already having won the 26th race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season, he also won the 27th race of the year a few hours later. At the Red Bull Ring, he came out on top after a battle with Lando Norris (Carlin) that lasted many laps. In a spectacular final stage, Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix) secured second place from Tadasuke Makino (Hitech Grand Prix). While the Honda backed Japanese scored his maiden podium finish in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, points’ leader Lando Norris retired after an accident on the final lap. As his only remaining title rival Maximilian Günther (Prema Powertaeam) finished fifth, the battle for the title remains open until the season finale at Hockenheim.
At the start, Joel Eriksson already made it clear that he wanted to score his second race win of the day. He took the lead from Lando Norris, but wasn’t able to pull clear from the charging Brit. Norris tried everything to overtake the Swede, but didn’t succeed. On lap 19, the McLaren junior driver ran into the rear of the BMW protégé’s car and lost the right front wing endplate of his car as a result of the contact. Following that incident, he had to let Eriksson pull away, after which the Swede drove an undisputed victory home.
Behind Eriksson, Norris had to defend his second place in the closing stages against Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix), until the two young drivers collided and retired on the final lap. Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin) was second across the line, but the only Austrian in the field previously had exceeded the track limits which resulted in a five second time penalty. Thus, second place went to Nikita Mazepin and third to Tadasuke Makino. All that, only an unsatisfying fourth place was left for Habsburg.
After the action-packed final stage, Maximilian Günther was classified fourth which brought the German ten points. Thus, he reduced his gap to championship leader Lando Norris to 72 points and therefore he still has a mathematical chance of winning the FIA Formula 3 European Championship title. Jehan Daruvala (Carlin), Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing), Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam), David Beckmann (Motopark) and Marino Sato (Motopark) rounded out the top ten. For the Japanese rookie driver, this was his first point for the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings.
Joel Eriksson (Motopark): “This race was harder than the one earlier today. I started with four used tyres while Lando Norris had two new ones. My start was good and I was first, but then had to defend my position from Lando. I succeeded and led throughout the race. Just before the end, Lando drove into the back of my car. Before that, I had a bad exit of turn three while his exit was very good. He swerved to the left and to the right behind me and then drove into the back. Fortunately, there wasn’t any damage on my car so that I was able to make it to the finish without any major problems. I am still in a position to become runner-up in the championship, but I am not looking at that. I am happy to be back on the top step of the podium and above all, I want to have fun during the finale.”
Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix): “My start was good, I was fast and I didn’t make any mistakes. Sometimes, it happens in racing that two rivals collide and others gain positions as a result. This time, I was the lucky one, but in the previous weeks, I have had a lot of bad luck as well. Now, it seems that my good fortune has come back and I hope for a similar result during the finale at Hockenheim in three weeks’ time.”
Tadasuke Makino (Hitech Grand Prix): “I started the race with four used tyres, which impeded the handling of my car. However, my engineer told me not to give up and to do my utmost. Apart from that, I had a very good feeling and my maiden podium finish in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is a great experience, too.”