Despite seeing the first opportunity to clinch the 2017 FIA European Formula 3 Championship title end in the gravel trap at the Red Bull Ring, Trevor Carlin has praised Lando Norris for still fighting for the best possible position despite running with damage.
Norris was battling Joel Eriksson for the victory in Austria only to lose an element of his front wing against the Motopark drivers’ car with five laps to go, which saw him fall back and into the clutches of Ralf Aron, and on the final lap the Estonian attacked the Briton, only to run into the back of him and put both drivers in the gravel.
But despite the retirement, and the fifth place for Maximilian Günther that meant the title battle would go to the Hockenheimring, team boss Carlin says no one is stressed about the outcome of that final race in Austria, and Norris should be praised for giving it his all.
“You can’t go from applauding him when he does stuff like that and say, ‘Well done mate, brilliant’ and then have a go at him when he does that,” said Carlin to Autosport.
“We love him when he does stuff like that, but unfortunately the circumstances this time meant a bit of damage that left him on the back foot.
“If he’d kept away from Aron for another half a lap, we’d all be celebrating, but over the weekend we’ve increased our lead in the championship, so how can we be stressed?”
Carlin was also happy with how Eriksson and Norris battled at the front of the field, and insists that despite Norris only needing an eighth place finish in Germany to clinch the title, they will be going all-out for race wins once again.
“It was spot-on,” said Carlin. “Both drove really well, and it’s really difficult to pass someone like Joel because he’s a bloody good driver.
“If that had been the championship decider and we’d lost it because of that I’d be really angry, but he was just trying to add to his tally.
“So we’ll be racing at Hockenheim for three wins, not for the eighth place necessary. Because Lando’s like that, that’s given him his edge. I’m glad it didn’t damage Joel’s car – no penalties should be needed.”