Joel racked up his ninth podium of the season by taking second place in the Zandvoort opener on Saturday morning, reducing Maximilian Günther’s championship lead in the process.
Starting from third on the grid, Joel immediately disposed of front-row man Ferdinand Habsburg on the run to the first corner, and even challenged the Austrian’s Carlin team-mate Lando Norris for the lead.
Norris fended off the attack, however, while a scary accident further down the field saw Joel’s Team Motopark colleague David Beckmann flipped upside-down in the gravel trap, triggering a safety car period. Beckmann, thankfully, escaped serious injury and was driven from the scene in the Medical Car.
At the restart a few laps later, Joel again launched an attack on Norris for the lead, but the McLaren F1 junior held firm and the race then turned into a typical Zandvoort event with virtually no changes to the running order at a track infamous for its lack of overtaking opportunities.
The leaders duly maintained their positions to the chequered flag, with Norris claiming victory ahead of Joel and Günther in third place.
The outcome sees an already close title race bunch up further still, with Joel remaining third overall but having now cut Günther’s lead from 26 to 23 points. Norris retains second.
Next session: Qualifying 2, 16.15 local time (GMT+02:00).
“I’ll never be fully pleased until I win, but given the circumstances in this race I’m definitely satisfied. Lando had two new tyres today while I was on four old, so he was a couple of tenths quicker, which is quite normal in that situation. I tried to overtake on a couple of occasions on the first few laps, but he defended well. I think second was the best we could do today and it does give us many important points.”
RESULTS – Race 1