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2017 GP2, GP3 calendars released, Jerez to host standalone round

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GP2 and GP3 have confirmed their calendars ahead of the 2017 season, with both series adding a standalone round at Jerez in October.

GP2 and GP3 act as the second and third rungs on the single-seater ladder, with a number of Formula 1’s biggest talents previously plying their trade in the series.

For 2017, GP2 will return to Bahrain for its opening round, having started its 2016 campaign a few weeks later at the Spanish Grand Prix.

GP2 will support F1 at every European round from Spain onwards, as well as at Baku in Azerbaijan. A standalone round is scheduled at Jerez on October 6-8 ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi on November 26.

GP3 will first appear on the undercard for the Spanish Grand Prix in May, but will not return until the Austrian Grand Prix weekend at the end of July. It will then support all of the summer European rounds, as well as featuring at Jerez and in Abu Dhabi.

“We’re delighted to race in Jerez between Monza and Abu Dhabi,” GP2 chief Bruno Michel said.

“We wanted to have the same number of events (including three flyaway rounds in 2017 as in the previous year, but we were mindful of freight costs. This meant not adding a fourth flyaway round and staying in Europe for a standalone event.

“This is also why we decided to hold our final pre-season test session in Bahrain, ahead of the season opener.”

2017 GP2 Series Calendar

1. Sakhir, Bahrain – 14-16 April
2. Barcelona, Spain – 12-14 May
3. Monte Carlo, Monaco – 25-27 May
4. Baku, Azerbaijan – 23-25 June
5. Spielberg, Austria – 7-9 July
6. Silverstone, Great Britain – 14-16 July
7. Budapest, Hungary – 28-30 July
8. Spa, Belgium – 25-27 August
9. Monza, Italy – 1-3 September
10. Jerez, Spain – 6-8 October
11. Abu Dhabi – 24-26 November

2017 GP3 Series Calendar

1. Barcelona, Spain – 12-14 May
2. Spielberg, Austria – 7-9 July
3. Silverstone, Great Britain – 14-16 July
4. Budapest, Hungary – 28-30 July
5. Spa, Belgium – 25-27 August
6. Monza, Italy – 1-3 September
7. Jerez, Spain – 6-8 October
8. Abu Dhabi – 24-26 November

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.