Sochi – A late very quick lap saw Robert Shwartzman take pole position for the first race in Sochi, which hosts the final round of the season for the FIA Formula 3 championship. In today’s qualifying, the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) student was already quick on his first set of tyres to top the time sheet and then produced a great last lap in a time of 1’52”583, to ensure he starts from pole position .
Battle. It was a closely contested session, with small gaps and the order changing constantly. Shwartzman stayed calm, timing it right and posting his final time as the chequered flag fell. “It’s a great feeling to take pole at my home track,” commented Robert. “There were a few set-up problems during free practice, but the team did a great job and in qualifying I immediately had a better feeling with the car and then improved with every lap so that in the end I got pole. But the weekend has only just started, there are two races to deal with so I must stay focussed.”
Eight points from the title. The points for pole means Robert is now on 184 points, 37 ahead of team-mate Jehan Daruvala. The Indian is the only man who can beat Shwartzman to the title and started Race-1 alongside him on the front row.
Armstrong. Marcus Armstrong also had a good qualifying. The New Zealander has his sights set on third place in the championship and missed out on a front row start by just 78 thousandths of a second. His closest rival, Juri Visp starts Race-1 from ninth place. “Third place is okay,” he commented. “But I’m a bit annoyed that I ran into traffic which meant I didn’t get the most out of the car. But it’s alright and tomorrow’s race is going to be very close. After the start, it will be vital to get through the first two corners in one piece and then will come the fight. Anything could happen, I’m feeling confident.”