Eriksson holds off Norris to take opening Pau victory

Joel Eriksson took his third win of 2017 in race one at Pau - Credit: FIA Formula 3 European Championship

Joel Eriksson held off the challenge of Lando Norris at Pau to take his third victory of the 2017 FIA European Formula 3 Championship season as pole sitter Callum Ilott crashed out on the opening lap.

Motopark ace Eriksson denied Norris by just 0.243 seconds at the end of the 23-lap race, which was twice interrupted by the introduction of the safety car.

Ilott kept the lead at the start but made a mistake at Pont Oscar halfway around the opening lap, hitting the barriers hard and breaking his suspension. The Prema Powerteam drivers retirement handed Eriksson the lead after the Swede had jumped Norris at the start.

The safety car was soon required in order to clear the crashed car of Guan Yu Zhou, with the Prema Powerteam driver left stranded on the outside of the track in a zone where there was no crane to lift his car away. Initially officials tried to clear it up using just a full course yellow, but with the car requiring to be lifted away, the safety car was eventually deployed.

The second safety car was needed for a crash for Joey Mawson, who was running a strong third for Van Amersfoort Racing. The Australian lost control on the right-hander before Foch as light rain fell across the circuit, the slippery conditions pushing the 2016 ADAC Formula 4 Champion into the barriers.

Running behind Mawson, Jake Dennis also hit the same barrier almost in sympathy with the Australian, with the Carlin driver ending his own race in the barriers at Foch with broken suspension, but not before he clipped Maximilian Günther, with the Prema Powerteam driver lucky to escape any significant damage.

The race resumed with just over a minute on the clock remaining, and Eriksson held on over the final two laps despite pressure from Norris, while Günther took a lucky podium ahead of Nikita Mazepin, who held off the race long challenge from Hitech Grand Prix team-mate Ralf Aron to take fourth.

Harrison Newey was sixth for Van Amersfoort Racing, who will be disappointed to lose out on a first podium finish of the season thanks to Mawson’s crash, while Pedro Piquet was seventh.

Mick Schumacher was eighth for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg of Carlin, but both drivers are under investigation for passing under yellow flags, while the final point on offer went to Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala.

Jake Hughes was on course for a top six finish for Hitech Grand Prix, but the British racer crashed out at Foch the lap before Mawson and Dennis retired.

Pau Race 1 Result

11Joel ErikssonSWEMotopark23 Laps
231Lando NorrisGBRCarlin+0.243s
33Maximilian GuntherGERPrema Powerteam+2.636s
499Nikita MazepinRUSHitech Grand Prix+3.560s
57Ralf AronESTHitech Grand Prix+3.970s
617Harrison NeweyGBRVan Amersfoort Racing+4.564s
75Pedro PiquetBRZVan Amersfoort Racing+5.383s
825Mick SchumacherGERPrema Powerteam+5.825s
962Ferdinand HabsburgAUTCarlin+6.637s
1027Jehan DaruvalaINDCarlin+7.201s
1155David BeckmannGERVan Amersfoort Racing+8.229s
1247Keyvan Andres SooriGERMotopark+9.071s
1311Tadasuke MakinoJAPHitech Grand Prix+9.616s
1433Marino SatoJAPMotopark+10.537s
RET96Joey MawsonAUSVan Amersfoort RacingRetired
RET21Jake DennisGBRCarlinRetired
RET34Jake HughesGBRHitech Grand PrixRetired
RET8Guan Yu ZhouCHNPrema PowerteamRetired
RET53Callum IlottGBRPrema PowerteamRetired