Joel clinched his second FIA F3 European Championship win of the season as he converted pole position into victory in a gripping Race 2 at Monza on Sunday morning, sustaining late pressure from Lando Norris.
Starting from pole after topping yesterday’s qualifying session, Joel rocketed away off the line to sprint unchallenged into the first corner, while fellow front-row starter Norris made a poorer getaway and slipped back to fourth.
Joel then consolidated his lead in the opening stages, despite suffering a scare when he ran over debris at the Lesmos on lap three, with Mick Schumacher in second place until the recovering Norris demoted the German on lap six.
By that time, Joel had established a 3.2-second advantage, but Norris started to make inroads late in the race to set up a thrilling conclusion.
Joel held firm, however, eventually crossing the line 0.735 seconds ahead of the British Carlin racer to celebrate his second win of the season.
Meanwhile, Schumacher finished third some nine seconds behind, the son of seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher taking his first-ever F3 podium.
The third and final race of the weekend takes place this afternoon, with Joel again on pole as he aims to further extend a championship lead that now sits at seven points (with Norris second).
Next session: Race 3, 15.15 local time (GMT+02:00).
“This is like a dream come true to me. I’ve always wanted to win here at Monza, having grown up watching so many F1 races here, and the emotions are high right now. The race itself was really good – the start was perfect, one of the best in the field I think, and then I managed to pull away a gap. I was also lucky not to pick up a puncture after running over a broken wing or something on lap three.
“I got into my pace and tried to drive as comfortably as possible, but in the end Lando was catching me and got a slipstream – that made it a bit difficult for me and I just had to speed it up. It was a great feeling to cross the line and win this one, and now we’ll try to do it again in the final race this afternoon.”
RESULTS – Race 2
FOLLOW THE ACTION
TV / live stream
FIA F3 European Championship races are broadcast throughout a wide network of TV stations. Click here to find out where to watch in your part of the world. All races are also transmitted LIVE at www.fiaf3europe.com/live, with Eurosport airing a highlights package in the days following each round.
Live timing for each session of the 2017 FIA F3 European Championship is available at www.fiaf3europe.com/live.
WHERE IT HAPPENS
Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Lap length: 5.793 km
Monza FIA F3 EC data
Lap record: 1m44.082s (C.Leclerc, ’15)
Latest event: 2015
Most recent winners (2015):