Joel Eriksson took victory in the opening race at the Hockenheimring on Saturday, but second place was more than enough for Lando Norris to become the 2017 FIA European Formula 3 Champion.
With Maximilian Günther needing to win and Norris finish outside the top eight for the championship battle to go on, the German started on the back foot in twelfth and could only move forward into tenth, meaning that even without Norris’ podium the Briton was always in a position to take the title.
Callum Ilott started on pole position and initially led away but Eriksson found a way into the lead into the hairpin, and despite a brief response from the Prema Powerteam driver, the Swede repelled the Brits challenge into the Mercedes Arena, with Ferdinand Habsburg slipping into second after Ilott and Norris banged wheels.
Norris came out of that tussle ahead, and on lap seven made a move on Carlin team-mate Habsburg for second, but despite pushing hard until the chequered flag, the Briton was forced to settle for second, 0.725 seconds behind Eriksson, who took his third win in four races and his seventh of the season.
Habsburg withstood pressure from Ilott to claim the final spot on the podium, with the Briton making a mistake that meant he ultimately was forced to defend fourth from Jehan Daruvala before moving more than three seconds clear in the closing laps.
Pedro Piquet lost out on sixth place to Hitech Grand Prix’s Nikita Mazepin, but the Brazilian held of Russian’s team-mate Ralf Aron to take seventh for Van Amersfoort Racing, with Tadasuke Makino clinching ninth ahead of Günther, who not only lost out on the title but saw himself drop to third in the championship behind Eriksson.
But Norris did everything he needed, and more, to become the champion, and there can be no doubt that with the performances the young Briton has put in this year, it was his destiny to clinch a fifth title in just three years.
Hockenheimring Race 1 Result
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