Lando Norris will have to wait until the Hockenheimring next month to clinch the 2017 FIA European Formula 3 Championship title after finding himself crashing out of the final race of the weekend at the Red Bull Ring after a clash with Ralf Aron.
The Carlin driver admitted that he did not need to defend so much from the Hitech Grand Prix driver, particularly as he was already running with damage having clipped the rear of Joel Eriksson’s car a few laps prior, and he feels that with hindsight, he should have allowed Aron to pass him, as a third or fourth place finish would have been enough to take the title.
“I really wanted to clinch the championship here today but after making two mistakes, I must now wait until Hockenheim,” said Norris. “I made an error under braking and touched the back of Joel’s car that damaged my front wing.
“I then wanted to finish on the podium too badly and got myself involved in a collision. In hindsight, I should have let Ralf go through.
“Although I feel devastated, not for me but for the team, I take a seventy-two point advantage to Hockenheim so all is far from lost.”
Norris felt his car improved as the weekend went on, although his opening race was compromised by a disappointing qualifying result. He went on to finish fourth in race one after a late race pass on Tadasuke Makino, but then finished a close second to Eriksson in race two before his weekend’s adventures ended in the gravel trap in race three.
“Qualifying on Friday was a disappointment,” admitted Norris. “My car had a handling imbalance and I was slowed with understeer.
“The Carlin guys made some changes overnight which improved things for Race 1. I made a good start but dropped a place fighting for third. With two laps to go I managed to squeeze into fourth.
“I tried hard on the opening lap to get ahead of Joel in Race 2. My pace was good but he [Eriksson] made no mistakes – I was happy with second. I again made a good start in Race 3, the car felt really good until I hit Joel, the damaged front wing causing massive understeer.”