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Joel Eriksson (Motopark) came to the Hungaroring as the FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ leader and after the three races of the weekend in Hungary, he also headed home in the lead of the standings, in spite of having lost first place to Maximilian Gunther (Prema Powerteam) on the day before.

At the 4.381 kilometres long Formula 1 circuit near the Hungarian capital of Budapest, Eriksson won the twelfth race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season from Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) and Lando Norris (Carlin). Maximilian Günther, who was the points’ leader going into this race, took the finish flag in sixth place.

Joel Eriksson started the race from pole position, made the best use of his first place on the grid and led the field into the first corner. In the following laps, the BMW junior driver extended his advantage over his rivals and celebrated an undisputed victory.

Behind the Swede, Callum Ilott was delighted with his second place ahead of Lando Norris and Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam). The Chinese, a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, especially had to defend his position against the best-placed rookie driver, McLaren junior Lando Norris (Carlin), which he only managed to do with cutting a chicane. After the race Zhou was therefore penalised with a five second time penalty for gaining an advantage, which left him in fourth position in the final classification.

David Beckmann (Motopark) repeated his fifth place from the eleventh race of the season, he took the chequered flag ahead of his fellow German Maximilian Günther. During the race, he didn’t manage to pull a decisive gap from last year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship runner-up.

Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix), Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Jehan Daruvala (Carlin) also stayed closely behind the respective drivers in front of them, but didn’t get the chance to mount a challenge. Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix) rounded out the top ten.

Joel Eriksson (Motopark): “With my poor performance in first qualifying and tenth place in the first race, I really had a week start of my weekend. Then, however, we worked hard and did our utmost to make the next two races more successful. Of course, I am happy with the fact that I am now back in the lead of the championship.”

Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam): “For me, this race was more exciting than the previous one, because my tyres degraded more. Basically, the speed was there to possibly attack Joel, but I had to be careful to keep my car on track. Therefore, I wasn’t able to attack Joel. Nevertheless, this weekend was very good for me, because I was able to score many points.”

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Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) had to wait until the eighth race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season before being able to celebrate his first win of the year. At the 2.76 kilometres long street circuit of Pau in the south of France, the German had the upper hand over Lando Norris (Carlin).

Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) crossed the finish line in third place ahead of Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing), Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix) and Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix). Joel Eriksson (Motopark), who started the race as the FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ leader, retired early after an accident. That allowed rookie driver Norris to get past the Swede into the lead of the drivers’ standings.

Maximilian Günther won the dash into the first corner against Lando Norris, who had started from pole position. The British McLaren junior driver, however, wanted more and started several attempts to overtake his rival on the first few laps. Stalwart Günther remained unfazed and defended his lead. After some laps, the Prema driver was able to extend his margin so that his lead was no longer under threat. Eventually, Günther drove home an undisputed victory at the foot of the Pyrenees ahead of Lando Norris as the top rookie.

Behind Günther and Norris, Callum Ilott and Joel Eriksson initially followed in third and fourth place. The Swede, who won the FIA Formula 3 European Championship rookie title last year, put the Brit under pressure in the opening stages, but Ilott then was able to pull clear to eventually bring third place home. Eriksson, in turn, retired after a crash on lap 24 and thus allowed Harrison Newey to move up into fourth place. In a race with only little overtaking, Ralf Aron, Jake Hughes, Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix), Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin), Jehan Daruvala (Carlin) and Jake Dennis (Carlin) finished in fifth to tenth place.

Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam): “My start was very good. Then, I was involved in a battle for the lead with Lando. After a few laps, though, I was able to find my rhythm and pull a gap. Then, it was all about avoiding any mistakes and bringing first place home. I am really happy with my first win of the season. At Silverstone and Monza, things weren’t going perfectly yet and in a championship that is so close as this one, that leaves you without a chance to challenge for victories. Therefore, being on the top step here is all the more beautiful.”

Lando Norris (Carlin): “Maximilian’s start was very good, whereas mine, once again, wasn’t the best. On the first few laps, I was faster than him, but Maximilian was better from the halfway point onwards. Thus, I didn’t have a chance to overtake anymore, especially as a very tight track like Pau only allows you to do so when the driver in front makes a mistake. I hadn’t noticed that Joel Eriksson retired. My team told me on the radio, but at the moment, I am not looking at the drivers’ standings anyway. There are still many races to go and a lot of things can still happen. My focus is much more on winning the next race.”

Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam): “At the start of the race, I had a first-hand view of the duel between Maximilian and Lando. I didn’t want to take too many risks, because I was determined to make it to the finish and score points. When Joel Eriksson behind me retired, I was able to take it easier and then bring third place home safely.”

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Maximilian Gunther (Prema Powerteam) is the winner of the ninth race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with the official status of the ‘Grand Prix de Pau’. The German, runner-up in last year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship, won in bright sunshine at the 2.76 kilometres long street circuit of Pau ahead of Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) and Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix).

McLaren junior driver Lando Norris (Carlin), who only moved up into the lead of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standing this morning, already lost it again to Joel Eriksson (Motopark). The Swede, tied on points with Norris, but with one more victory to his tally, took the chequered flag just behind Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort) and thus finished fifth.

Lando Norris used his pole position and took the lead on the first few metres of the race. The rookie soon pulled clear from the rest of the field, with Maximilian Günther next up. Callum Ilott, Harrison Newey, Joel Eriksson and Ralf Aron rounded out the top six in the opening stages.

On lap eight, David Beckmann (Van Amersfoort Racing) retired after an accident, which caused the safety car to be deployed. Just after the restart, Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix) and Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing) retired, which promoted Tadasuke Makino (Hitech Grand Prix) and Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing) into the top ten.

Out in front, Lando Norris seemed to be in control, until he was unable to avoid an impact into the tyre stacks due to a broken left front wheel suspension on lap 19. Maximilian Günther inherited first place and brought it home safely. Behind Günther, his team-mate Callum Ilott was next up, Ralf Aron finished third. For the Estonian, it was his first podium finish of the season, the second for his team Hitech Grand Prix. Harrison Newey, Joel Eriksson, Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin), Tadasuke Makino, Pedro Piquet, Jake Dennis (Carlin) and Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam) rounded out the top ten in a race that included plenty of action. Japanese driver Makino, backed by Honda, scored his first FIA Formula 3 European Championship points.

Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam): “Victory in the Grand Prix de Pau means a lot to me. I was already second back in 2015 and now I managed to win here. That is something special indeed. The 25 points for this victory are nice, too. I am now quite closely behind the two leaders in the points’ standings, but that is not what I am thinking about at the moment. I am working from one race to another and I am doing my utmost. In this race, I particularly tried to stay away from the kerbstones, because there had been suspension damage in the two previous races already and I wanted to avoid that at all cost.”

Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam): “My race wasn’t very exciting, there isn’t much to say, really. I also tried not to run too hard over the kerbs. I think that, apart from Maximilian, we have all made mistakes this weekend. I did so in the first race and Joel and Lando probably ran a little bit too hard over the kerbs in the other races and ruined their suspension like that.”

Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix): “I am really happy to be on the podium here. As a team, this was our goal for this weekend and that is what we achieved. After our rather difficult start of the season, we worked hard to get back to the front again. This third place is also very good for our motivation. Once Joey Mawson had overtaken Nikita Mazepin in this race, I knew that I had to put pressure on as well and overtook Joel Eriksson. After the first safety car intervention, I overtook Harrison Newey on the outside of the first corner and I was third after Lando’s accident. However, I wanted more and I kept the pressure on, but then took it more easily after I had made a little mistake. Then, I safely brought third place home.”

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Joel Eriksson (Motopark), the current FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ leader, managed to score a race win on each of the three FIA Formula 3 European Championship race weekends held so far this season. This range of success continued at the 2.76 kilometres long street circuit of Pau.

At the foot of the Pyrenees, he finished ahead of Lando Norris (Carlin), with Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) taking third place. Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix) scored his best FIA Formula 3 European Championship result to date by finishing fourth, followed by Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix) and Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing). In the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings, Eriksson extends his lead from Norris to eight points.

At the start, Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) converted his pole position into the race lead ahead of Lando Norris and Joel Eriksson. Still on the opening lap, however, the Brit retired from the lead following an accident. As Eriksson had moved past Norris just before that, the Swede inherited the lead. On lap five, Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam) was the next driver to crash into the Armco barriers, which prompted the race director to deploy the safety car. During the neutralisation, Eriksson led from Norris, Joey Mawson (Van Amersfoort Racing), Jake Dennis (Carlin), Maximilian Günther and Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix).

Racing resumed on lap eleven. While Eriksson’s lead was never under threat, rookie Mawson had to defend his position from a charging Jake Dennis. Six laps later, with a few drops of rain coming down, Hughes was unable to avoid a crash into the Armco barriers and retired. Just a little bit later, Mawson and Dennis did likewise in unrelated incidents. While the safety car was deployed once more, the new race order was Eriksson from Norris, Günther, Nikita Mazepin, Ralf Aron and Harrison Newey.

Two laps before the chequered flag was out, racing resumed. On the final 5.5 kilometres, there were no position changes at the front of the field. Joel Eriksson scored his maiden win on the streets of Pau. Lando Norris came second as the best-placed rookie, and crossed the finish line ahead of Maximilian Günther, Nikita Mazepin, Ralf Aron, Harrison Newey, Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing), Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam), Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin) and Jehan Daruvala (Carlin). As Schumacher had overtaken Carlin driver Habsburg under yellow, the stewards of the meeting imposed a penalty, after which he dropped one place. Therefore, he ended up ninth behind Habsburg in the final classification.

Joel Eriksson (Motopark): “I am really happy, because this win is my first on a street circuit. I had a very good start and I was able to keep Lando at bay in the battle for second. In front of me, Callum was very fast on the first few kilometres. Too fast from my point of view given the limited grip that was available. That showed as he retired after an accident. Later on, my pace was really good as well. At times, I was able to pull clear from Lando and I defended my first place until the finish.”

Lando Norris (Carlin): “The start was my best of the season so far, even though it wasn’t perfect yet. Initially, I was third and I was then second after Callum’s accident. I tried to put Joel under pressure, but he didn’t make any mistakes. Thus, I didn’t have a chance to overtake, but I am also happy with second place. According to me, the fact that drivers of the Motopark and Carlin teams are very good at the moment is mainly the result of the hard work by both teams over the winter. Perhaps, not everybody expected our current performance. As far as the engine is concerned, there is no significant difference between the Mercedes and the Volkswagen engines.”

Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam): “At the start, I had too much wheel spin, so I dropped back to sixth. After Callum’s crash, I was up in fifth and I was third after Joey Mawson and Jake Dennis had crashed out. I was very fortunate, because there was contact when I drove past Jake’s limping car. Fortunately, my car didn’t have any damage, so I was able to bring third place home. After my getaway, which wasn’t very good, this was still a good start into the weekend.”