Maximilian Gunther finishes runner-up in the F3 Euro championship

By | October 15, 2017

Event: 10 Hockenheim
Session: Race 3
Track: Hockenheimring / DEU
Pole position: Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam)
Race winner: Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam)
Weather: sunny, 16.2 °C

With his fifth win of the year, Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) concluded his third season in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. At the 4.574 kilometres long Hockenheimring, the 20-year-old German took the chequered flag ahead of Joel Eriksson (Motopark) and Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam). That was enough for the Swede to secure second place in the final FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings behind newly-crowned European Champion Lando Norris (Carlin).

In the final race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season, one of the things that still had to be decided was the battle for second place in the final drivers’ standings for 2017. The candidates for the runner-up position were Joel Eriksson and Maximilian Günther and both put in their best performances. Günther started the race from pole position and took the lead at the start. Eriksson started from fifth place, was fourth after the opening lap, third after lap two and second after another lap.

On lap six, Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin) crashed into the tyre stacks which led to a ‘full course yellow’, during which all drivers have to reduce their speed and overtaking is prohibited. This temporarily stopped the Swede’s progress. But as racing resumed, the BMW junior was also unable to significantly reduce his gap of slightly more than four seconds to Mercedes protégé Günther. The latter drove an undisputed victory home while Eriksson took the flag in second place. Thus, the Motopark driver, who had won last year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship rookie title, ended up second in the drivers’ standings after his second season in the series.

Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou, a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, claimed the final podium slot as he demoted the new FIA Formula 3 European Champion to fourth. Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam), Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix), Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing), Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix), Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing) and David Beckmann (Motopark) finished in the following positions. As Hughes had been too fast during the FCY (‘full course yellow’) phase, he was given a five second time penalty after the race. Thus, the Brit dropped back to eighth place behind Piquet and Mazepin.

Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam): “Winning this race was all I could do to keep my chances of becoming second in the drivers’ standings. My start was very good and I was able to pull a gap straight away. Later, I kept my advantage and tried to save my tyres. Winning in front of my home crowd is a nice way to conclude a season that didn’t always go like I wanted it to. We didn’t have the best package, but I think I have made the most out of it.”

Joel Eriksson (Motopark): “I am really happy to have secured runner-up position in the drivers’ standings. After having had problems last year, we worked hard over the winter. The first part of the season went well, but we again had troubles in the middle of the year. However, we were able to solve these as well and eventually, we were back on top again. Today, I knew that I at least had to finish third, because Maximilian was in a very good position to win the race. When I was in second place, I backed off a bit.”

Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam): “For the first time, I have managed to score two podium finishes in one Formula 3 weekend. At the start of the race, I even was in second place, but Joel was faster and overtook me. From lap 15 till the end, I had to be careful to keep Lando Norris at bay, so I couldn’t make a mistake and had to be consistently fast.”

eom/FIA press release