Joel Eriksson bagged a podium from a weekend of mixed results in round seven of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at Zandvoort.
Eriksson, who won last year’s Masters of F3 event at the Dutch seaside circuit, came home second in the opening race of the meeting to score his ninth podium so far in 2017.
The final two races proved more frustrating for the young BMW-backed Team Motopark driver, however, with a couple of 12th place finishes completing the Swede’s weekend among the North Sea dunes.
”A mixed weekend with some highs, but unfortunately too many lows,” says Joel Eriksson. ”Things started off well and ended worse, to sum it up. At least we got a podium, which is always something, but overall I’m obviously not satisfied.”
Eriksson got his weekend off to a promising start, lapping less than a tenth off pole position in the opening qualifying session on Friday to take third on the grid for Race 1. He quickly disposed of front-row starter Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT) at the start, and went on to finish second behind title protagonist Lando Norris (GBR).
Things took a turn for the worse in second qualifying on Saturday, however, with Eriksson unable to reproduce the kind of performance from the day before.
A red-flag stoppage just as he prepared for his new-tyre run did not help matters, and when his fastest lap was retroactively cancelled due to a yellow-flag infringement – a fate he shared with a full nine other drivers – the writing was on the wall.
Forced to start both of Sunday’s two races from 13th, Eriksson faced a steep task to even break into the points at a circuit as loved for its driving challenge as it is infamous for its lack of overtaking opportunities. As predicted, the races both turned into largely uneventful affairs, with Eriksson taking a pair of 12th places.
“I knew qualifying was going to be key this weekend, and we have been working on that recently to make sure we’re competitive,” Eriksson continues. “That’s why I was really pleased with our performance in Qualifying 1, and similarly disappointed with Qualifying 2. It really is virtually impossible to overtake at this track; you lose too much downforce following the cars ahead. I tried my best and we had a lot better pace, but I was just stuck. We will learn from this and do a better job next time.”
Joel Eriksson retains third place in the FIA F3 European Championship standings, but has now dropped to 55 points behind new leader Lando Norris with three rounds and nine races still to go in 2017.
The next FIA F3 European Championship round takes place at the Nürburgring in Germany on September 8-10.
RESULTS (top five)
FIA F3 European Championship | Rd. 7
Zandvoort, the Netherlands
1: Lando Norris (GBR), 21 laps
2: Joel Eriksson (SWE), +8.974s
3: Maximilian Günther (GER), +11.653s
4: Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT), +12.493s
5: Callum Ilott (GBR), +13.002s
1: Callum Ilott (GBR), 22 laps
2: Jake Hughes (GBR), +7.371s
3: Lando Norris (GBR), +8.742s
4: Harrison Newey (GBR), +14.993s
5: David Beckmann (GER), +15.650s
12: Joel Eriksson (SWE), +24.671s
1: Lando Norris (GBR), 24 laps
2: Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT), +6.646s
3: Maximilian Günther (GER), +11.530s
4: Guan Yu Zhou (CHN), +15.058s
5: Jake Hughes (GBR), +31.078s
12: Joel Eriksson (SWE), +34.109s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 21 of 30 races
1: Lando Norris (GBR), 313 p.
2: Maximilian Günther (GER), 302 p.
3: Joel Eriksson (SWE), 258 p.
4: Callum Ilott (GBR), 221 p.
5: Jehan Daruvala (IND), 140 p.