Lando Norris has successfully clinched the FIA European Formula 3 title, following the first race of the final round of the season at Hockenheim.
The McLaren young driver is tipped to take over the team’s reserve and test driver role from Jenson Button in 2018. He made a successful Formula 1 test debut for McLaren at the Hungaroring in August.
“It’s been a fantastically successful year,” Norris said after securing the title on Saturday. “And a season in which it hopefully takes me closer to realising my [Formula One] dream.
“I’m loving my role as a McLaren young driver. Spending time in the simulator at the McLaren Technology Centre, and attending some Grands Prix with the team,” he added. “Winning this title can only help me become a F1 driver.”
Norris had a chance to close out the championship battle in the previous race at the Red Bull Ring. Instead, he ended up denied after crashing out on the last lap.
He’s been made to wait three more weeks, but had a dominant hand coming into the final weekend. The 17-year-old still only needed to finish in the top eight in today’s race to secure the crown. Meanwhile his rival Maximilian Günther had to win outright to keep the battle alive.
- Norris left stranded in the sandbox!
In the event, Günther was unable to do much from his grid position of 12th place. He crossed the line in tenth place, which in itself handed Norris the title.
Even so, Norris didn’t have a particularly smooth ride to the title. Starting from second behind polesitter Callum Ilott, he fumbled the start and lost a position to Joel Eriksson.
Eriksson subsequently slipstreamed his way past Ilott into the Spitzkehre hairpin to take the lead. When Ilott attempted to fight back, he lost momentum which allowed Norris to strike.
There was contact between the pair which was subsequently investigated by the stewards. Norris’s Carlin teammate Ferdinand Habsburg took advantage of the incident to pass them both. However Norris was quickly back on it and he soon dispatched Habsburg on lap 7.
However, Norris had nothing left with which to catch Eriksson before the chequered flag. The stewards investigation deemed no further action was required over his clash with Llott, meaning his second place was confirmed – as was the championship.
“Carlin gave me a fast, competitive car from the opening event at Silverstone,” he said. “My thanks go to [team boss Trevor [Carlin] and his amazing crew.”
Norris had previously won the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and Toyota Racing Series titles in 2016, as well as the MSA Formula title from 2015.
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