The fifth round of the European Formula 3 championship took place at the Hungaroring this weekend. Marcus Armstrong took his first win in this category, after fighting back from an unlucky time in qualifying. “It was almost a disaster,” was the Ferrari Driver Academy student’s verdict on qualifying. “On my first set of tyres I was quickest, but on the second one, I made a mistake and got caught in traffic and that dropped me down to 13th place.”
Races. A lost weekend? Not, for the 19 year old New Zealander never lost heart and fought back in Race-1. “It was great fun,” he said. “It reminded me of wet races in karting.” Marcus ended up eighth, which meant that, with a top eight reversed grid, he started the second race from pole. Armstrong made the most of this to keep the lead at the start and then controlling the race to the chequered flag. Rounding off a perfect Sunday, Armstrong also took a point for setting the race fastest lap, giving him 97 points after five of the eight rounds, in a classification that is looking very close.
Robert leader. Robert Shwartzman is still in the lead on 124 points, but the Russian FDA driver did not get as much as he deserved to out of this Hungarian round. “Qualifying wasn’t bad and fourth confirmed we could do well,” explained Robert. “But at the start of Race-1, I nearly stalled as the revs dropped a lot and I had to dip the clutch which lost me time. I then concentrated on managing the tyres and, at the end of the day, fifth is still a good result.”
Bad luck. Shwartzman started Race-2 from fourth on the grid and had the podium in his sights, but while battling Felipe Drugovich for third, the two men collided and both cars were damaged. Robert had to retire, but he still leads the championship with three rounds to go.