Three rostrum finishes including two wins, one fastest race lap achieved from three front row starts, two from pole Lance Stroll took another major step towards winning this year’s FIA European Formula 3 Championship title when the Canadian placed his Dallara F312-Mercedes first in the opening two races then second in the third and final race in Germany this weekend (10-11 Sep). Stroll arrived at the Nürburgring for rounds 22, 23 and 24 after a six-week summer break with a 61-points lead in the 30-race series.
The Williams Formula One Development driver will now head to the penultimate Euro F3 event at Imola in Italy next month (1-2 Oct) with a 68pts advantage. A maximum of 150-points is on offer in the final six races.
Lance, inducted in to the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star scheme earlier this year, has now notched up 14 podium finishes this season including nine wins six fastest races and nine pole-positions in 24 races. Stroll, who has led the championship standings since May, started the latest three races on the Nürburgring 3.629km short circuit from pole twice and second position achieved in Friday’s two, 20mins qualifying sessions staged in sunny conditions Lance having now started 50% of this year’s races from the front row of the grid.
Stroll, who only made his Nürburgring début in the corresponding event last year, lined-up in pole-position, led comfortably from start to finish and set the fastest race lap in the normal format of 33 minutes plus one lap race on Saturday morning. Lance began the afternoon race from pole and although he slipped behind team-mate Maximilian Günther off the line, Stroll re-took the lead in a neat manoeuvre with 8mins remaining after a series of fastest race laps. Sunday morning’s race saw Stroll start from the front row alongside Günther Lance having been denied a pole hat-trick by a mere 0.058s. He hounded Maxi, remaining within one second for the first half of the race, until Stroll’s Dallara lost rear-end grip denying the Canadian the opportunity to score a three-race winning clean sweep.
Lance Stroll: « It’s been a good weekend in terms of championship points with two victories and a second place but there is still work to be done at Imola. We were immediately on the pace on Friday in the opening practice sessions and almost had a clean sweep of ‘poles’ but just missed out for Race 3. The opening race wasn’t too exciting but that’s the way we like it. My start was good as was my pace the car was fantastic and I was able to back off halfway through. Race 2 wasn’t as straight forward as Maxi [Günther] beat me away but I caught him and was quicker generally. I had a good run going in to the chicane and took the lead in a nice clean manoeuvre as it was important I didn’t jeopardize either of our races. I struggled with the rear tyres in Sunday’s race, although they were ‘old’ tyres I’d not suffered that before to that extent so we’ll need to look at the data. So, decent points this weekend but this latest success doesn’t make me complacent heading to Italy. My goal this year isn’t finished until I win the F3 title. »