Joel powered to his seventh FIA F3 European Championship victory of the season, and third in a row, in the opening race of the weekend at Hockenheim.
From third on the grid, Joel laid the foundations for his triumphant effort on the opening lap, where he snatched a lead he would then never surrender.
He picked off front-row starter Lando Norris immediately off the line, and then dragged alongside pole-sitter Callum Ilott on the long run to the Spitzkehre hairpin as the duo disputed the early lead.
Ilott defended the inside line, but Joel managed to out-brake the Briton and squeeze ahead as they approached the apex, taking the lead.
Ilott attempted a counter move into the subsequent Mercedes Arena, but Joel held firm and maintained the advantage. Meanwhile, Ilott and Norris made light contact that allowed Ferdinand Habsburg into second.
Ilott dropped to fourth behind Norris as a result of the wheel-banging exercise with his countryman, and would go on to finish in the same position.
Norris later chased down Habsburg and took second from his Carlin team-mate, setting off in pursuit of Joel.
The duo proved evenly matched, however, with Joel controlling the gap at around 1.2-1.6 seconds.
As the chequered flag fell after 23 laps, Joel duly celebrated his seventh win of the season, and his third consecutive triumph to add to his Red Bull Ring double from three weeks ago.
In finishing second, Norris sealed the 2017 FIA F3 European Championship title.
Joel used just two new tyres in this race, while Norris and Habsburg both ran a full set of new Hankooks on their Carlin machines.
The outcome of the race means Joel has now overhauled Maximilian Günther, who could only manage 10th, for second in the championship standings. Joel will take an 18-point advantage over the German heading into the final two races of the season, with Ilott still in with an outside shot sitting 49 points adrift of Joel with just 50 left up for grabs.
Next session: Race 2, 17.15 local time (GMT+02:00).
“I’m obviously thrilled – that’s three wins in a row! As the others started on four new tyres, I knew that I had to be aggressive on the opening lap and take track position, otherwise it would have been hard. I made a better start than Lando and got into the slipstream of Callum on the back straight, and just managed squeeze ahead under braking. It was very close, but it worked out. After that, I tried to build a gap on the next few laps before settling in and taking care of the tyres.
“Lando got a little bit closer in the end, but it was according to plan – I knew my tyre situation wasn’t ideal, so I didn’t want to push too hard. I’m very, very happy with this, and it was crucial for the championship. Maximilian (Günther) is starting in front of me in both the remaining races, but I’m feeling confident and hopefully we can maintain second. 18 points is a decent gap.”
RESULTS – Race 1