Joel Eriksson secured a second victory of the weekend at the Red Bull Ring, but Lando Norris will have to wait to clinch the 2017 FIA European Formula 3 Championship until the final round of the season after being taken out on the final lap by Ralf Aron.
Eriksson and Norris were having a fantastic battle at the front of the field, with the Motopark driver resisting every move that the Carlin driver attempted, but a few laps from the end, the Briton got too close and broke the end plate off his front wing, and as a result dropped off the back of the Swede and into the clutches of the following Aron.
With the championship tantalisingly within his grasp, Norris defended his position on the final lap heading towards turn four, only for Aron to hit him from behind, spinning both of them into the gravel trap and out of the race.
With Maximilian Günther finishing fifth, he clawed back just enough points to take the championship battle to the Hockenheimring, although it will be tall order for the German, sitting as he is seventy-two points behind with only seventy-five points remaining.
Günther only made it to fifth thanks to a time penalty for Joey Mawson, who was penalised for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, otherwise Norris would be champion already.
Thanks to the melee on the final lap, as well as the penalties for Mawson and Ferdinand Habsburg, gave Nikita Mazepin his second podium of the day and Tadasuke Makino his first European Formula 3 podium, much to the delight of their Hitech Grand Prix team.
Despite his five-second penalty, Habsburg claimed fourth for Carlin ahead of Günther, with Jehan Daruvala sixth ahead of Mawson, Mick Schumacher, David Beckmann and Marino Sato, who secured his first point of the season for Motopark in tenth, just ahead of Harrison Newey and Devlin DeFrancesco.
Callum Ilott’s weekend ended prematurely after being pushed off track by Aron on the opening lap, with the Prema Powerteam driver catching some air as he bounced through the gravel trap. He spun immediately on returning to the track and then retired into the pits to fall further behind Günther and Eriksson as the trio battle for second place in the championship.
The race also saw the brief interruption from the Full Course Yellow after Keyvan Andres Soori found himself stuck in the gravel trap and facing the traffic after contact.
For Norris there will be disappointment today, but Günther will require a near-miracle to deny the Briton the championship in Germany. Three wins will be required with Norris not scoring at all.
Red Bull Ring Race 3 Result
|2||99||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||Hitech Grand Prix||+5.737s|
|3||11||Tadasuke Makino||JAP||Hitech Grand Prix||+8.978s|
|5||3||Maximilian Gunther||GER||Prema Powerteam||+9.652s|
|7||96||Joey Mawson||AUS||Van Amersfoort Racing||+11.286s|
|8||25||Mick Schumacher||GER||Prema Powerteam||+11.482s|
|11||17||Harrison Newey||GBR||Van Amersfoort Racing||+20.699s|
|14||8||Guan Yu Zhou||CHN||Prema Powerteam||+28.510s|
|15||5||Pedro Piquet||BRZ||Van Amersfoort Racing||+29.452s|
|16||34||Jake Hughes||GBR||Hitech Grand Prix||+1:16.093s|
|17/RET||31||Lando Norris||GBR||Carlin||+1 Lap|
|18/RET||7||Ralf Aron||EST||Hitech Grand Prix||+1 Lap|
|19||47||Keyvan Andres Soori||GER||Motopark||Retired|
|20||53||Callum Ilott||GBR||Prema Powerteam||Retired|