McLaren-backed Norris clinches F3 title
14 October 2017 – McLaren-backed Lando Norris has been crowned FIA European Formula 3 Champion after finishing in second position in the opening race of the season finale at Hockenheim.
Norris, who joined McLaren's young driver scheme earlier this year, entered the final three-race round of the campaign with a 72-point advantage over Prema's Maximilian Günther, with 75 points up for grabs.
Günther needed to win all three races, with Norris scoring fewer than three points, in order for the German to pull off the unlikeliest of title triumphs.
Norris' prospects of securing the title in the first race were boosted when he qualified second for the opening race, with Günther only 12th quickest.
Norris dropped to third on the opening lap, via a brush with pole-sitter Callum Ilott, while Joel Eriksson moved into the lead, with Ferdinand Habsburg vaulting into second.
Norris overhauled Habsburg and crept closer to Eriksson across the rest of the 33-minute race, but was never near enough to mount a challenge for the lead, only moving to within a second of the Swede on the last lap.
Eriksson, therefore, pulled off his third straight win – a result which lifted him above Günther in the standings – while Norris clinched the title with his 20th podium of the campaign.
Carlin's Norris is the first non-Prema driver to win the Formula 3 title since 2010.
Günther, meanwhile, gained a couple of positions, but moved no higher than 10th, making Norris' result ultimately academic in terms of the championship outcome.
Habsburg rounded out the podium positions for Carlin, while Ilott fell away from the top-three fight after sliding through the gravel entering the stadium section, and came home fourth.
Jehan Daruvala was fifth, having briefly threatened Ilott in the wake of the Prema racer's excursion, ahead of Nikita Mazepin and Pedro Piquet.
Ralf Aron collected eighth spot, with Tadasuke Makino ninth, as Günther rounded out the top 10.
1. Lando Norris - 429 points
2. Joel Eriksson - 358 points
3. Maximilian Günther - 340 points
Saturday's Race 2 will begin at 17:15 local time