Title winner Stroll signs-off from F3 in magnificent style

© DR

Canadian bows out of F3 category with three dominant victories, two “poles” and a fastest race lap 2016 FIA Formula 3 European Champion Lance Stroll signed off from a stunningly successful season and the F3 category by posting three dominant victories at Hockenheim in Germany this weekend (15-16 Oct). The Montréal-born Williams Formula One Development driver ultimately closed out the season a colossal 185-points ahead of his closest rival having wrapped up the title with four races to go earlier this month.

This represents the biggest winning points margin in the history of the Formula 3 Euro Series and FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
Stroll’s season will go down as arguably the most dominant in European F3 history. The British Racing Driver’s Club “Rising Star” recorded a staggering 24 top-six finishes including 20 podiums that featured 14 wins in the 30-race series having started 17 times from the front row – 14 from pole-position. Lance, who celebrates his 18th birthday on 29 October, is the first driver from North America to ever win the prestigious Euro F3 title and is the youngest ever F3 Euro Series & FIA Formula 3 European Championship winner.
Lance started Saturday morning’s race on the 4.574km Grand Prix circuit – the 60th in his F3 career – from “pole”, a front right lock-up going in to Turn 2 momentarily dropping Stroll to third before he re-took the lead in a bold overtaking move at the Mercedes Arena on the opening lap. Thereafter Lance stamped his authority on the race, taking a commanding six-secs victory, and leading home a Prema 1-2-3-4 having set the fastest race lap for the 11th time this year. The afternoon race saw Stroll blast away from “pole” – his 14th of the year – and complete lap one with a 1.58secs lead. Total dominance ensued with Lance cruising to the chequered flag with an over four-secs advantage.
Stroll, who has led well over twice as many racing laps this season than the next successful driver, lined-up fourth for his final race of the season on Sunday morning – his 22nd race start this season from either the first or second row of the grid. An electrifying start saw Stroll second at the first corner and in the lead on lap two after a brilliant manoeuvre – Lance scoring his 14th victory of the season by 4.716secs. Immediately after the race which had been delayed due to fog, Geneva-based Stroll was presented with the championship winning silverware on the podium by Prema’s 2014 F3 champion and current Formula One driver Esteban Ocon.

« “It’s been an amazing season and to score another three wins to sign off from the F3 category is awesome. Qualifying was solid overall. I gave it everything in the first session – and was on it again for my fastest lap in the combined qualifying for Races 2 & 3 later on Friday. But I unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to lay down a second lap time due to traffic. I found a clear lap in the dying minutes but the tyres weren’t at their peak anymore. Race One was fun – especially the opening lap! I made a good start but going into Turn 2 I locked up the front right wheel massively. Maxi left some room on the inside at Turn 7 and I went for the gap. He defended and closed me to the inside and we had slight contact but it all went well for me from that point. Race 2’s victory was pretty straightforward and comfortable apart from the sun setting making visibility difficult at times but it was a nice lights to flag victory. On Sunday, I made an awesome start from P4 and saw an opportunity to get into the lead and went for it. My pace was good, built a gap then maintained it to the checker. It’s taken all year but I finally got the triple win over the weekend. I’ve definitely had a good time this weekend and that was my goal.” »

Martyn Pass,