Jake Hughes’ fate from this morning's race had been declared and it was a 10 second time penalty for his antics with Ferdinand Habsberg. This meant that he didn’t lose any positions on the grid but, rather than savour that small mercy in this, a pretty torrid weekend, a notification came that he had been clocked speeding in the pitlane and was under investigation.
As with any series, that was a slam dunk drive through and I’m quite sure, upon hearing the news, Hughes wouldn’t have minded parking the car and heading for the airport. One to forget if ever there was one!
The time penalty meant Maxi Günther was promoted up the order, but to keep himself in the hunt for the Championship, he would need to beat Lando Norris by ten points. A tall order considering his starting position of ninth relative to the Brit who was up in second.
Joel Eriksson and Lando Norris got a brilliant start, but not so Callum Ilott who found himself falling into the advances of Ralf Aron. Aron made it round the outside of turn one to take the place but the squabbling over position continued for most of the lap before what seemed like an inevitable coming together.
The contact sent Ilott into the gravel and, although he was able to recover it to the track, all that was left of his race was a short drive to the pits. Aron was subsequently under investigation for forcing him off the track.
Guanyu Zhou had a spin in turn two and, in an attempt to avoid him, Maxi Günther lost a couple of places, dropping from sixth to eighth, really not the start he needed.
An incident between Keyvan Andres and Pedro Piquet threw a full course yellow as Andres came off the worse of the two and had to be recovered. Most timed the restart well but with the midfield bunched together, Joey Mawson was able to pass Tadasuke Makino for sixth, which brought Günther into play as he started to apply pressure to make up some much needed places.
Up front, Norris was not settling for second, despite the fact the Championship was his as it stood. At every opportunity he was attacking Eriksson and it turned out to be one try too many as he clipped the back end of the Motopark and lost part of his front wing.
With just five minutes to go, the decision was made to stay out and salvage what he could from the race, but he struggled to keep up the pace, scrubbing the front tyres and falling closer to Aron in third.
Aron seen his opportunity to gain a spot down into turn three, but he got too hot on the brakes and spun them both into the gravel and out of the race with just half a lap to go!
So, Eriksson took his second win of the weekend ahead of Nikita Mazepin and Tadasuke Makino, who scored his first podium in F3.
With the order changing behind them and the last lap incident, there were frantic calculations occurring on the Prema and Carlin pit walls to see if Günther had made up the required positions to take the ten points he needed.
With a fifth place finish, he had! Ten points exactly from the race deny Norris the title and take it to a deciding round in Hockenheim.
With a raft of penalties for incidents during the race, the final order was, in fact, anyone's guess. But here they are with penalties included. Habsburg fell just short of a podium finish in the last of his home races but it was a nice haul of points for Mick Schumacher, the top step of the rookie podium for Jehan Daruvala and a first point in F3 for Marino Sato. So there was joy a bit further back!
You can catch the full race here and I would wholeheartedly encourage you to!
The final round of the season in Hockenheim gets underway on the 14th of October .