Armstrong wins Sochi race one, Shwartzman wraps up F3 title

Ferrari Formula 1 junior Robert Shwartzman won the FIA Formula 3 title with second in race one at Sochi, while his Prema Racing and Ferrari team-mate Marcus Armstrong took victory.

Armstrong made a strong getaway from third to get a run on polesitter Shwartzman, the former taking the lead at Turn 2, while Jehan Daruvala – who needed to win to keep his title hopes alive – fell back to fourth at the start and then fifth when he was passed by the charging Leonardo Pulcini in the early stages.

Rain complicated matters and while it wasn’t strong enough to benefit from a wet tyre, it did mean multiple drivers crashed and marred the first quarter of the race with virtual and full safety car periods.

Just before halfway following the full safety car, Niko Kari reeled in Armstrong and made his move to take the lead around the outside at Turn 13. Armstrong got back ahead one lap later at Turn 2 but locked up, falling back to third.

That gave Shwartzman second and the strong tow awarded by following the leader, and he made the most of it to claim the lead at Turn 2 with seven tours to go, and two laps later he cleared DRS range to Kari.

However it wasn’t over as Armstrong passed Kari and then honed in on his rival, Shwartzman. A late lunge at Turn 2 on the last lap robbed his team-mate Shwartzman of a win in front of his home crowd, but at least the title went Shwartzman’s way to avoid any blushes.

He was congratulated after the race by Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto.

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Second would have guaranteed Shwartzman the title regardless of the result of his only title rival Daruvala, but the latter could only finish fifth and over eight seconds adrift of his team-mates in a disappointing display.

Prema sealed the race with a 1-2 as it added the drivers’ title to the teams’ championship in an incredible year for the Italian squad, which hadn’t competed in the GP3 championship from which the new F3 car was taken and adapted.

Kari’s third was his equal-best result of the year, the Finn outside of the top 10 in the points during his fourth year at this level.

Red Bull’s Juri Vips took fourth on the road with a late move on Hitech Grand Prix team-mate Pulcini, but a 10 second penalty for punting ART Grand Prix driver Christian Lundgaard demoted him to eighth.

Behind Pulcini and Daruvala Pedro Piquet joined his Trident team-mate Kari in the top six, ahead of HWA’s Jake Hughes and Vips.

Raoul Hyman took his first points of the year for the Sauber Junior Team, with MP Motorsport’s Richard Verschoor rounding out the top 10.

Of the series debutantes, Ralf Schumacher’s son David took 22nd after he was punted into a spin half way through the race in his first F3 appearance for Campos Racing.

Jenzer’s ‘Charles’ Leong crashed at Turn 2 to bring out the full safety car in the early stages.

Armstrong wins Sochi race one, Shwartzman wraps up F3 title

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