F3: Armstrong unbeatable in final F3 Practice

Marcus Armstrong
Marcus Armstrong

Marcus Armstrong topped the final Free Practice session of the FIA Formula 3 season, ahead of Championship leader Robert Shwartzman. The Russian, who is hoping to wrap up the title this weekend, couldn’t quite match his Kiwi teammate, lapping 0.328s behind. The duo finished ahead of Trident’s Niko Kari, who scored his best session placing since Round 1.

Lirim Zendeli and Ye Yifei got Free Practice underway on a cool morning in the Black Sea resort. The duo exchanged first and second in the early stages before Pedro Piquet took the times to under 1m 56s.

The PREMAs didn’t take long to warm up their tires and Armstrong quickly seized control of proceedings, slashing the laps down to under 1m 55s, nearly 0.5s ahead of his teammate Shwartzman.

Christian Lundgaard made an attempt to dislodge him from first and briefly claimed P1, before the Kiwi replaced him moments later. The Trident machines were showing early pace, as Niko Kari not only joined Piquet near the top, but went faster. The Finn missed out on P1 by just 0.074s and was backed up by Shwartzman in third.

With five minutes on the clock, the final PREMA, Jehan Daruvala, leapt 10 places from 13th to third to steal the position from Shwartzman, but the Russian’s next tour of the Sochi Autodrom proved quicker and pushed the Indian down into fourth.

Determined to lay down a marker ahead of a massive weekend for the Ferrari F1 junior, Shwartzman thundered through a final lap for second place, but still couldn’t match his teammate as Armstrong held on to P1.

Kari completed the top three, ahead of Daruvala and Yifei. Zendeli, Lundgaard, Max Fewtrell, Piquet and Jüri Vips completed the top 10. The field return to action in the early afternoon, when Qualifying will take place at 1pm (local time).

Free Practice provisional classification

POS

DRIVER

TEAM

TIME

LAPS

1

Marcus Armstrong

PREMA Racing

1:53.504

16

2

Robert Shwartzman

PREMA Racing

1:53.832

17

3

Niko Kari

Trident

1:54.052

16

4

Jehan Daruvala

PREMA Racing

1:54.088

16

5

Ye Yifei

Hitech Grand Prix

1:54.158

18

6

Lirim Zendeli

Sauber Junior Team by Charouz

1:54.451

20

7

Christian Lundgaard

ART Grand Prix

1:54.548

15

8

Max Fewtrell

ART Grand Prix

1:54.574

15

9

Pedro Piquet

Trident

1:54.628

18

10

Juri Vips

Hitech Grand Prix

1:54.668

16

11

Raoul Hyman

Sauber Junior Team by Charouz

1:54.778

19

12

Jake Hughes

HWA RACELAB

1:54.785

16

13

Felipe Drugovich

Carlin Buzz Racing

1:54.786

15

14

Leonardo Pulcini

Hitech Grand Prix

1:54.836

16

15

Logan Sargeant

Carlin Buzz Racing

1:54.935

16

16

Devlin DeFrancesco

Trident

1:55.134

19

17

Richard Verschoor

MP Motorsport

1:55.137

18

18

Simo Laaksonen

MP Motorsport

1:55.185

16

19

Bent Viscaal

HWA RACELAB

1:55.230

13

20

David Schumacher

Campos Racing

1:55.258

16

21

Teppei Natori

Carlin Buzz Racing

1:55.303

16

22

Yuki Tsunoda

Jenzer Motorsport

1:55.387

18

23

Sebastian Fernandez

Campos Racing

1:55.414

16

24

Fabio Scherer

Sauber Junior Team by Charouz

1:55.460

17

25

Keyvan Andres

HWA RACELAB

1:55.599

18

26

Alessio Deledda

Campos Racing

1:56.138

19

27

Andreas Estner

Jenzer Motorsport

1:56.177

19

28

Leong Hon Chio

Jenzer Motorsport

1:56.972

19

29

Liam Lawson

MP Motorsport

2:21.088

7

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