European F3 champion Stroll ends season with Hockenheim hat-trick

Formula 3 European champion Lance Stroll bowed out of the category in style by completing a Hockenheim hat-trick after an early scrap with Joel Eriksson in the season finale

European F3 champion Stroll ends season with Hockenheim hat-trick

The Prema Powerteam-run Canadian, who started only fourth on the grid due to getting mired in traffic in qualifying, instantly made it up to second place.

Eriksson ran too deep into the Spitzkehre hairpin on the opening lap, allowing Stroll to get a run and grab the lead briefly from Motopark's BMW junior at the Mercedes Arena.

Eriksson swept back in front, before Stroll dived down the inside at Spitzkehre on lap two.

Although Eriksson drew back alongside at the exit, Stroll was able to complete the manoeuvre at the Mercedes Arena.

He instantly opened a gap of over a second, gradually extending it to finish 4.7 seconds clear and complete an end-of-season run of five wins on the trot.

Most of the attention was thereafter on Carlin cameo star Jake Hughes.

From the front row the GP3 racer made the least bad of his three starts, and came off best from a brush with Callum Ilott as they fought for third at Turn 2, which sent Ilott into a spiral towards the back of the field and eventual retirement.

Hughes then lost out after a three-wide scrap with Nick Cassidy and Sergio Sette Camara into Spitzkehre on lap two, dropping to fifth.

For lap after lap he swarmed over the gearbox of Red Bull junior Sette Camara's Motopark car, finally making it past at half-distance when he got the cutback exiting Spitzkehre.

The gap to Cassidy's Prema machine looked insurmountable, but Hughes set fastest lap as he gradually caught the Kiwi.

On the penultimate lap Cassidy defended the inside line at Mercedes Arena, but a slight lock-up sent him a touch wide and Hughes was through into the final podium position.

Alexander Sims also found a way past Sette Camara to take fifth, while the Brit's Hitech GP team-mate Ben Barnicoat emerged from a tight midfield war for seventh.

Ralf Aron lost out to Barnicoat in this fight, but finished eighth ahead of Prema team-mate Maximilian Gunther - who fought through from a problem-filled 17th on the grid - and Van Amersfoort Racing's Anthoine Hubert.

With Sims not scoring in the championship, the final point was taken by Motopark's Ferrari junior Guan Yu Zhou.

George Russell once again fought into the points from his grid penalty, only to retire to the pits.

RESULTS - 23 LAPS

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 35m45.382s
2 Joel Eriksson Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 4.716s
3 Jake Hughes Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 11.297s
4 Nick Cassidy Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 13.924s
5 Alexander Sims Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 16.686s
6 Sergio Sette Camara Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 24.146s
7 Ben Barnicoat Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 24.777s
8 Ralf Aron Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 26.447s
9 Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 27.329s
10 Anthoine Hubert Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 27.842s
11 Guanyu Zhou Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 29.509s
12 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 30.626s
13 Niko Kari Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 31.405s
14 Dan Ticktum Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 32.766s
15 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 36.864s
16 Lando Norris Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 47.472s
17 Andy Chang ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/NBE 1m06.494s
18 David Beckmann kfzteile Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 1 Lap
- Callum Ilott Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- George Russell Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Mikkel Jensen kfzteile Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes Withdrawn

FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Lance Stroll 507
2 Maximilian Guenther 322
3 George Russell 274
4 Nick Cassidy 254
5 Joel Eriksson 252
6 Callum Ilott 226
7 Ralf Aron 176
8 Anthoine Hubert 160
9 Ben Barnicoat 134
10 Niko Kari 129
11 Sergio Sette Camara 117
12 Mikkel Jensen 107
13 Guanyu Zhou 101
14 Alessio Lorandi 96
15 David Beckmann 67
16 Jake Hughes 27
17 Ryan Tveter 26
18 Harrison Newey 22
19 Pedro Piquet 19
20 Nikita Mazepin 10
21 Arjun Maini 3
22 Raoul Hyman 1

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