Pre-event FIA F3 European Championship leader Joel Eriksson endured a difficult three days as the season reached its halfway point at the Norisring this weekend, leaving the German street track with a fourth-place finish as his best result.
Eriksson’s weekend was compromised by a variety of factors, with the biggest blow coming in opening qualifying where the ramifications of a broken rear damper left the Swedish BMW junior down in 17th place on the grid for Saturday’s first race.
Once there, however, Eriksson staged a mighty recovery, carefully picking his way through the field to finish in fourth place – just a few seconds off the podium.
Again held back in Qualifying 2 by a mix of handling issues and traffic, Eriksson started Sunday’s concluding pair of races from tenth on the grid, finishing in that same position in Race 2 and rising to seventh in Race 3 (in which he set the third quickest lap of the race).
The outcome of the Norisring round means Eriksson has now lost his championship lead, with Germany’s Maximilian Günther instead snatching the advantage following a trio of podiums on home soil. Eriksson, in second place, is 34 points adrift of Günther.
“It’s been a difficult weekend,” Joel Eriksson admits. “We’ve had too many issues of different sorts and that has left us off the pace. I was really pleased with the first race and to recover that amount of ground, but other than that it’s been a weekend to forget. We will sit down and take a close look at this, learn from it, and move on. Norisring is a very particular track and hopefully this was just a one-off. Everyone in the team is pushing to the maximum to make sure we return to where we belong.”
The second half of the FIA F3 European Championship campaign begins at Spa-Francorchamps in the Belgian Ardennes – where Joel Eriksson claimed his first-ever F3 win last season – on July 28-29.
RESULTS (top five)
FIA F3 European Championship | Rd. 5
1: Maximilian Günther (GER), 38 laps
2: Pedro Piquet (BRA), +1.507s
3: Guan Yu Zhou (CHN), +2.134s
4: Joel Eriksson (SWE), +4.421s
5: Harrison Newey (GBR), +15.640s
1: Lando Norris (GBR), 42 laps
2: Jake Hughes (GBR), +1.134s
3: Maximilian Günther (GER), +2.176s
4: Jehan Daruvala (IND), +3.378s
5: Ralf Aron (EST), +4.167s
10: Joel Eriksson (SWE), +7.848s
1: Jehan Daruvala (IND), 39 laps
2: Maximilian Günther (GER), +0.458s
3: Lando Norris (GBR), +3.088s
4: Ralf Aron (EST), +4.021s
5: Jake Hughes (GBR), +4.548s
7: Joel Eriksson (SWE), +5.753s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 15 of 30 races
1: Maximilian Günther (GER), 236 p.
2: Joel Eriksson (SWE), 202 p.
3: Lando Norris (GBR), 198 p.
4: Callum Ilott (GBR), 166 p.
5: Jehan Daruvala (IND), 106 p.