Red Bull Ring Euro F3: Crash denies Norris title as Eriksson wins

A last-lap collision denied Lando Norris victory in the Formula 3 European Championship with one round to spare, as Joel Eriksson took the race win in a thrilling Red Bull Ring finale

Red Bull Ring Euro F3: Crash denies Norris title as Eriksson wins

Carlin-run McLaren protege Norris staged a thrilling chase of BMW junior Eriksson's Motopark Dallara-Volkswagen, the two even almost interlocking wheels on the long downhill straight to Turn 4 on the second lap.

With five and a half laps to go, Norris tried to run alongside Eriksson on the run to the first of the two quick left-handers, but ran into the rear end of Eriksson's car, sending the Briton's right-front-wing endplate flying.

His challenge for the win was over, but second was easily enough for Norris to clinch the title, with main rival Maximilian Gunther down in eighth after losing out in the first-lap jostling.

Norris's problem allowed the battling Ralf Aron and Ferdinand Habsburg to close in, and Aron's Hitech GP car was closer than ever as they began the final lap.

The Estonian forced Norris to defend into the uphill Turn 3 hairpin, then chanced his luck with a late outbraking move into the downhill Turn 4.

But Aron locked the brakes, sliding into Norris and taking them both helplessly into the gravel and out of the race.

Gunther was classified fifth, giving him just enough points for the title to go to the Hockenheim finale: he is 72 adrift, with 75 on the table.

"It was a little bit of a hard race, but I didn't expect anything else because I was starting on four old tyres and Lando had two new," said Eriksson.

"We had a proper fight in the early laps - I think it was fair play from both of us.

"Then came the contact near the end: I had a bad exit out of Turn 4, and he had a really good one.

"He had my slipstream, I was closing the inside, and I could see him everywhere - right, left, right, left.

"I felt a big hit crashing into me, and it lifted the rear.

"I don't know what he was doing - I think he was a bit excited to win the race."

Carlin driver Habsburg finished second, but a five-second penalty for track-limits offences dropped him to fourth.

Next on the road were Hitech GP's Nikita Mazepin, Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Tadasuke Makino (Hitech), but Mawson, who had pulled off a spectacular pass on Makino after the FCY, also earned a 5s track-limits penalty, dropping to seventh.

That allowed Mazepin to take second - his second podium of the day - and Honda protege Makino into third for his maiden F3 podium.

Behind fifth-placed Prema Powerteam driver Gunther, Jehan Daruvala (Carlin) was classified sixth in front of Mawson and Mick Schumacher (Prema), while the last-lap dramatics elevated battling Motopark pair David Beckmann and Marino Sato into the final points positions.

Callum Ilott almost stalled from third on the grid, and was trying to wrest third place back from Aron in the two quick left-handers when suspected contact sent him spinning through the gravel and out of the race.

Race three result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Joel Eriksson Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 24 35m04.815s
2 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 24 5.737s
3 Tadasuke Makino Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 24 8.978s
4 Ferdinand Habsburg Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 24 9.206s
5 Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 24 9.652s
6 Jehan Daruvala Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 24 10.644s
7 Joey Mawson Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 24 11.286s
8 Mick Schumacher Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 24 11.482s
9 David Beckmann Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 24 19.592s
10 Marino Sato Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 24 20.273s
11 Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 24 20.699s
12 Devlin Defrancesco Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 24 23.033s
13 Petru Florescu Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 24 27.231s
14 Guanyu Zhou Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 24 28.510s
15 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 24 29.452s
16 Jake Hughes Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 24 1m16.093s
17 Lando Norris Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 23 1 Lap
18 Ralf Aron Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 23 1 Lap
- Keyvan Andres Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 3 Retirement
- Callum Ilott Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1 Retirement


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Red Bull Ring European F3: Eriksson wins tense race two from Norris

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