Joel Eriksson grabbed the early initiative as the FIA Formula 3 European Championship sprung to life at Silverstone this weekend, immediately claiming his first win of the year to take the overall points lead.
Despite having never sat foot at the British Grand Prix venue before the weekend, Eriksson refused to let any lack of track knowledge stand in his way in the F3 season-opener, delivering a string of results that none of his competitors could match.
While fourth place marked a promising start in the first of the weekend’s three races, it was in Saturday’s Race 2 that Eriksson truly came to the fore and demonstrated his 2017 intentions.
From third on the grid, the 18-year-old BMW junior swiftly worked his way into the lead on lap one, passing the slow-starting Lando Norris (GBR) off the line and then powering around the outside of British home hero Callum Ilott at the Brooklands left-hander.
Quickly establishing a two-second gap, Eriksson remained unchallenged throughout the 19-lap race, scoring his first FIA F3 European Championship win of the season (and the second of his career) while underlining his pace by setting the fastest lap of the race.
The Swede then brought the weekend to a strong close with second place, behind Ilott, in Sunday’s Race 3, leaving him at the top of the overall standings after the first of ten championship rounds.
“A great way to start the season,” says Joel Eriksson. “We were looking to get this kind of confirmation that we’ve got a strong package, and that’s exactly what we did. It’s really positive to go away from here leading the championship, especially as this was a new track to me, but it’s still early days and we’ll have to keep improving race by race. The next circuit will be a new experience as well, but I feel more confident going there now considering how this weekend went. Thanks to the team for all the work they’ve put in.”
The 2017 FIA F3 European Championship continues at Monza in two weeks’ time (April 28-30), with Joel Eriksson heading to Italy with a 12-point lead over second-placed Ilott in the standings.
RESULTS (top five)
FIA F3 European Championship | Rd. 1
Silverstone, Great Britain
1: Lando Norris (GBR), 16 laps
2: Jake Dennis (GBR), +1.683s
3: Maximilian Günther (GER), +2.432s
4: Joel Eriksson (SWE), +3.207s
5: Joey Mawson (AUS), +4.991s
1: Joel Eriksson (SWE), 19 laps
2: Callum Ilott (GBR), +2.336s
3: Jake Hughes (GBR), +15.397s
4: Maximilian Günther (GER), +18.679s
5: Jake Dennis (GBR), +19.202s
1: Callum Ilott (GBR), 19 laps
2: Joel Eriksson (SWE), +6.815s
3: Lando Norris (GBR), +7.626s
4: Maximilian Günther (GER), +10.974s
5: Jake Dennis (GBR), +11.755s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 3 of 30 races
1: Joel Eriksson (SWE), 55 p.
2: Callum Ilott (GBR), 43 p.
3: Lando Norris (GBR), 42 p.
4: Maximilian Günther (GER), 39 p.
5: Jake Dennis (GBR), 38 p.