Spa-Francorchamps – The Spa-Francorchams FIA Formula 3 weekend ended with a hug on the podium between Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) students. Marcus Armstrong won and Robert Shwartzman was third in Race 2. The mood on the podium was subdued following the very said passing of Anthoine Hubert, who died the previous day following a crash in the Formula 2 race. “This is for Anthoine,” said Armstrong as he took the chequered flag and on the podium, there was none of the usual champagne spraying, out of respect for the Frenchman. It will take a while for the atmosphere to improve but the drivers taking part in the second F3 race of the weekend was the best tribute to their departed friend.
Qualifying. Shwartzman’s weekend got off to a good start, as he took fourth spot in a closely contested qualifying, during which Armstrong was unfortunate to be slowed by traffic. The Australian was unable to do a fast lap on new tyres and had to settle for 19th on the grid. But Spa always offers plenty of passing opportunities and that was the case in Race 1.
Race-1. At the end of the opening lap, Shwartzman and Armstrong crossed the line in 5th and 12th places respectively and then the climb up the order began. Robert managed his tyres in the opening laps and then got past Tsunoda, Daruvala and Pulcini which took him to second place by lap 10. Marcus also made good progress until he was eighth in the closing stages, which with the reversed grid rule meant he would start Race 2 from pole position. “I think I did the best I could,” commented Armstrong. “We didn’t do as well as expected but tomorrow we can aim for the win.”
Race-2. Armstrong made the most of starting from pole, dominating the second race in Belgium, leading from start to finish. There were two Safety Car periods and Marcus did a good job of managing the re-starts also setting the fastest race lap. Shwartzman also had a great race, starting from seventh and working his way up to fourth by the end of the opening lap, eventually finishing third. It was an important result as it means the 19 year old Russian FDA student now has 152 points in the championship to lead Jehan Daruvala by 23. Armstrong’s tally here means he closes on third placed man Juri Vips, the gap now just three points.
Monza next. The teams and drivers now just have a few days before getting back on track in Monza for next weekend’s seventh round of the season.