Lance Stroll wraps up FIA F3 European Championship title at Imola

© Thomas Suer
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Rising Canadian racer Lance Stroll became the youngest winner of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship on Sunday at Imola, clinching the title with four races to spare.

Stroll, 17, is widely expected to make the step up to Formula 1 next year with Williams, having worked as a development driver with the team throughout 2016.

Stroll recently started a testing program with the British team using a 2014-spec F1 car, the FW36, but maintained that his focus lay with wrapping up the F3 title.

The Canadian has led the standings since the third round of the season, taking 11 wins in 27 races and 17 podiums.

After winning the second race of the Imola weekend, Stroll’s lead became unassailable, making him the youngest champion in the 40-year history of the series.

“Imola is one of my favourite tracks. I topped the times in both Free Practice sessions on Friday and ultimately started all three races from pole,” Stroll said.

“I scored good points in the opening race, leading until the second re-start after a Safety Car. I actually did nothing wrong but Niko [Kari] did a better job and I wasn’t prepared to jeopardize a rostrum finish by being overly aggressive especially as he was no threat to me in the title fight.

“In Sunday morning’s race, the pace was really good. Having built a lead each time I had to deal with three Safety Car re-starts. Over the last two laps I felt the title was arriving.

“In the third race again my pace was good and it was nice to have an uninterrupted race in terms of no Safety Cars and score an unchallenged victory.”

Stroll will continue to test with Williams and contest the final round of the F3 season at Hockenheim later this month.