With 2020 Formula 3 champion Oscar Piastri set to make his F1 in 2023. Let’s look at the five best F3/GP3 campaigns by the current grid.
Formula 1 is seen by many as the pinnacle of motorsport. Where twenty of the best drivers in the world compete across the globe to earn the coveted title of World Champion. For a driver to enter the sport they need a super license, which is granted by accumulating forty points over a three-year period. Super license points are granted through a variety of feeder series, such as Formula 3 (formally known as GP3) and Formula 2. In September it was announced that the 2020 Formula 3 champion Oscar Piastri would be driving in Formula 1 for McLaren in 2023. Piastri is just one of many drivers to graduate through the feeder program. Here is a look at the top 5 GP3/F3 champions out of the current F1 drivers:
1. Lewis Hamilton – 2005 Formula 3 Euro Series Champion (172 points)
The man that needs no introduction, Lewis Hamilton’s record speaks for himself. If people were tired of Hamilton’s domination in Formula 1, don’t remind them of his Formula 3 campaign where he won the championship by 78 points. Lewis was the only driver in the championship to score over 100 points that season.
Taking fifteen wins and seventeen podiums in twenty races it was the first showing of what was to come. Hamilton’s dominant display earned him a seat in GP2 in 2006, where after yet another dominant display, he graduated to Formula 1 the following year, partnering Fernando Alonso for McLaren. The rest is history.
2. Lance Stroll – 2016 FIA F3 Euro Series Champion (507 points)
Lance Stroll is often referred to as a ‘pay driver’ by some, as a result of his father being the owner of Aston Martin Racing. But, as Stroll himself pointed out “I know I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I’ve seen pay drivers in the past not deliver. But when I look at my rookie [F1] season, I know I’ve proved a lot of people wrong”. One strong instance of this quote appearing truthful is during his 2016 F3 campaign, where he demolished his opponent and teammate Maximillian Gunter by 187 points to comfortably take the championship.
Racing for Prema, Stroll took a mighty fourteen wins and twenty podiums to earn himself a place in Formula 1 for the 2017 season, racing for Williams. Since then, Stroll has shown glimpses of that talent by taking three podiums and one pole. Holding the record for the youngest rookie in Formula 1 to earn a podium, at 17 years old.
3. George Russell – 2017 GP3 Champion (220 points)
As George Russell famously uttered ‘consistency is key’. No campaign has shown more truth in his word than when he took the GP3 championship over fellow Brit Jack Aitken. Although Russell only took four wins and seven podiums, he scored regularly in the top six and managed to comfortably secure the championship by 79 points. After winning the 2018 GP2 championship he secured a seat for Williams Racing, replacing Lance Stroll.
YESSS!! WE DID IT!!
GP3 Series CHAMPION 2017!!! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/uNnnaIALFt
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) October 8, 2017
4. Mick Schumacher – 2018 FIA F3 European Champion (365 points)
Cursed with the ‘Schumacher’ surname, Mick has been watched since the day he was born – especially when he decided to start racing. Entering his second season of the FIA F3 championship, where he finished twelfth in the previous season, the pressure was on to secure the championship. Racing once again with Prema, Schumacher struggled for the first half of the season but improved massively in the second half – taking five victories in a row.
Overall, Schumacher finished with eight wins and fourteen podiums to take the championship by 57 points over British driver Dan Ticktum. After racing in F2 for two years, winning the championship in his second season, Schumacher joined Haas for the 2021 Formula 1 season.
🏆Mick Schumacher is the 2020 F2 world champion 🏆
In his record, he now has an F3 euroseries world championship, an F2 world championship and next year he will drive for Haas team in f1. Congratulations champion! pic.twitter.com/Q8bwr4FmiZ
— F1uent (@F1uentofficial) December 6, 2020
5. Lando Norris – 2017 FIA F3 European Champion (441 points)
Having been used as a guest driver for Carlin Racing during the 2016 F3 championship, Lando Norris became a permanent driver for them in 2017. Norris showed dominance in a non-dominant car as Carlin finished last in the team standings. Out-performing both his car and teammates, Norris took nine wins and twenty podiums to secure himself victories over Swedish driver Joel Eriksson by 53 points.
With Piastri narrowly winning the championship by just three points over Theo Pourchaire, it’ll be interesting to see how he fares being Norris’ teammate. And with Victor Martins being the reigning F3 champion, will we be seeing him join Formula 1 in the future? Who would you say had the best F3/GP3 season out of the current F1 drivers?