Montmelò – Robert Shwartzman and Marcus Armstrong’s FIA Formula 3 campaign has got off to a very promising start. The first round of the season took place this weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona and both Ferrari Driver Academy drivers confirmed the promise shown in winter testing. Shwartzman started the first race from pole and at the end of a thrilling contest he took the win before finishing fourth in the second race, having charged up the order from eighth on the grid. Robert pulled off four passing moves, two of them without resorting to DRS, which is no mean feat on a track like Barcelona. 37 points sees him lead the classification, 13 points ahead of Christian Lundgaard.
Analysis. “I didn’t get the best getaway at the start of Race-1 and that lost me the lead to Lundgaard”, said the 19 year old Russian. “When the virtual safety car was deployed I immediately slowed down to avoid getting a penalty. It was the first time I’d been in this situation and I tried to stay focused to make the most of the restart. Shortly after that, I was told I was actually in the lead as Lundgaard had been given a time penalty and so I tried to just stay with him to be sure of the win. The second race was a bit livelier and I moved up several places and I think if there’d been one more lap I could have got third. It was a great weekend and we always had the pace to run at the front, which makes me optimistic for the coming rounds.”
Armstrong. Armstrong also came away from this weekend with a good points haul. The New Zealander ran third from the start to the chequered flag in Race-1 and then finished fifth in Race-2, after making a great start which saw him make up two places. Armstrong is fourth in the championship on 21 points.
Useful weekend. “I’m happy with my third place in Race-1, although I won’t deny I’d have liked to have been closer to the leaders and fought for the win,” explained Armstrong. “I tried to attack Robert immediately after the start in Race-1, but I never really had an opportunity to get by. In Race-2, I got away well, but unfortunately the safety car came out in the early stages and that didn’t do me any favours. Towards the end, I struggled a bit with the rear tyres, but in the end I got a good points score in what was an encouraging weekend. I’m particularly pleased that I assimilated a lot of useful information over the weekend and I reckon that will be important over the long season that awaits us.”