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McLaren junior Norris wraps up FIA F3 Europe title at Hockenheim

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McLaren Formula 1 youngster Lando Norris continued his stunning 2017 season by wrapping up the FIA European Formula 3 title on Saturday at Hockenheim with two races to spare.

Norris, 17, missed out on the chance to clinch the championship at the previous round in Austria following a last lap clash, but entered the first of three races at Hockenheim on Saturday with the odds stacked heavily in his favor.

The McLaren-backed Briton finished second in the opening leg of the Hockenheim weekend behind Joel Eriksson, scoring the required points to move into an unassailable lead with two races remaining.

The title victory comes in Norris’ first year in the competitive F3 series that has produced drivers such as Max Verstappen, Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll in recent years.

It also marks Norris’ fifth junior title in the space of just three years, following successes in MSA Formula, Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and the Toyota Racing Series.

“It’s been a fantastically successful year and a season in which it hopefully takes me closer to realizing my Formula 1 dream,” Norris said.

“Carlin gave me a fast, competitive car from the opening event at Silverstone and my thanks go to Trevor [Carlin] and his amazing crew.

“I’m loving my role as a McLaren Young Driver, spending time in the simulator at the McLaren Technology Centre and attending some Grands Prix with the team. Winning this title can only help me become an F1 driver.”

Norris enjoyed his first F1 test with McLaren earlier this year during the collective running at the Hungaroring, putting in an impressive display for the British team.

McLaren is planning to place Norris in Formula 2 for 2018, with the championship traditionally acting as the final stepping stone before F1.

Eriksson snatches Macau Formula 3 pole from Norris

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Joel Eriksson snatched pole position for Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of the Macau Grand Prix after a thrilling fight with McLaren youngster Lando Norris and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.

Norris headed into the second stage of qualifying on provisional pole after lapping almost a second faster than any other driver in Thursday’s first opening session, and remained in contention early in Q2.

Norris was the first driver to dip into the 2:10s with a time of 2:10.744, only for Eriksson to go 0.024 seconds faster minutes later and snatch pole away.

Despite a later effort to try and reclaim pole, Norris was unable to improve his time, and opted to remain in the pits for the final five minutes of the session after using up his allocated tires.

Ilott was the final driver to put in a serious bid for pole position, falling 0.09 seconds short with his final qualifying lap to sit third on the grid for the qualifying race.

Maximilian Gunther claimed fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Dan Ticktum, with Mick Schumacher taking P7.

Yuhi Sekiguchi wound up eighth despite a late crash that brought out a red flag, while Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou completed the top 10 positions in qualifying.

Saturday’s qualifying race will help form the grid for Sunday’s main event, the 64th Macau Grand Prix.