F3: Armstrong wins sprint race from pole

#26 Marcus Armstrong battles
#26 Marcus Armstrong battles

Marcus Armstrong won a tribute led FIA Formula 3 Race 2, at Spa-Francorchamps. The PREMA Racing driver emotionally dedicated the win to the late Anthoine Hubert, following the tragic events in yesterday’s Formula 2 race. Armstrong led from lights-to-flag to finish ahead of Jenzer Motorsport’s Yuki Tsunoda, who scored his highest ever finish in the Championship. Robert Shwartzman came home third, after a late overtake on ART Grand Prix’s Christian Lundgaard.

The action started following a minute of silence in remembrance of Hubert, with teams, drivers, staff and officials from across Formula 1, Formula 2, and Formula 3 all coming together on the grid ahead of the start.

Reverse grid polesitter Armstrong got away cleanly off the line and retained his place ahead of Leonardo Pulcini. However, the Hitech Grand Prix racer was forced wide at the first turn and Tsunoda was able to pounce and leap ahead of him for P2. The Italian dropped down to 7th, with Lundgaard, Shwartzman and Jehan Daruvala all benefiting.

Liam Lawson spun off track in the early exchanges, but was able to recover and get back underway, albeit from the back of the grid. Niko Kari wasn’t so lucky and was forced into retirement after going off track.

Armstrong still held the lead over Tsunoda and set the fastest lap in his attempts to put air between them. Jüri Vips had lost places in the opening two laps, dropping from 4th down to 10th, before managing to squeeze back ahead of David Beckmann for 9th.

Simo Laaksonen plunged into the barriers after spinning off track, which brought out a safety car. The MP Motorsport man’s car was removed from the barriers and he was taken to the medical center for the usual checks.

From left, Yuki Tsunoda, Marcus Armstrong, Robert Shwartzman
From left, Yuki Tsunoda, Marcus Armstrong, Robert Shwartzman

When the Safety Car returned to the pits, Armstrong held his position ahead of Tsunoda and Lundgaard, who remained 2nd and 3rd. The back of Jake Hughes’ HWA RACELAB was then nicked by Devlin DeFrancesco, and the pair briefly skidded off the circuit. They were initially able to return to the track, before being forced to retire from the pits.

Armstrong was able to build a 2.5s gap between himself and Tsunoda, with Lundgaard harrying the back of his Jenzer machine. The Renault F1 junior was also under attack, with Shwartzman just 0.7s behind and Daruvala 0.5s.

Max Fewtrell was the morning’s next retirement, being forced out of his car following a puncture at the end of the Kemmel straight. Meanwhile, Lirim Zendeli and Raoul Hyman collided when attempting to avoid Logan Sargeant, who had locked up around the corner. Zendeli was able to finish the race, but Hyman was forced to retire.

Armstrong held a comfortable lead going into the final lap, as did Tsunoda, who had built up a gap of over 1s. Lundgaard was attempting to hold off Shwartzman, but eventually succumbed to the PREMA man, who sent it down the side of him, in the final sector.

Armstrong crossed the line in 1st, ahead of Tsunoda and Shwartzman. Lundgaard was 4th and Daruvala 5th. Piquet, Pulcini, Teppei Natori, Felipe Drugovich and Ye Yifei completed the top ten.

Robert Shwartzman stretches his lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 152, ahead of teammate Jehan Daruvala on 129 and Vips on 122. Armstrong is 4th on 119 and Lundgaard 5th with 93. In the Teams’ Championship, PREMA Racing are still 1st, with 400 points, ahead of Hitech Grand Prix on 183 and ART Grand Prix on 170. Trident are 4th with 89 and HWA RACELAB on 66.

The Championship will resume next weekend in Monza, when Shwartzman and PREMA will hope to further cement their impressive title charge.

Results

Pos No. Driver Team Laps Behind Gap
1 26 Marcus Armstrong Prema Powerteam 17 0.000s 0.000s
2 14 Yuki Tsunoda Jenzer Motorsport 17 4.515 4.515
3 28 Robert Shwartzman Prema Powerteam 17 5.616 1.101
4 3 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 17 6.538 0.922
5 27 Jehan Daruvala Prema Powerteam 17 7.612 1.074
6 18 Pedro Piquet Trident 17 8.20 0.588
7 20 Leonardo Pulcini HitechGP 17 9.124 0.924
8 29 Teppei Natori Carlin 17 10.245 1.121
9 30 Felipe Drugovich Carlin 17 10.843 0.598
10 22 Ye Yifei HitechGP 17 13.881 3.038
11 6 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 17 15.469 1.588
12 1 David Beckmann ART Grand Prix 17 16.613 1.144
13 25 Sebastian Fernandez Campos Racing 17 16.929 0.316
14 10 Bent Viscaal HWA AG 17 18.504 1.575
15 23 Alex Peroni Campos Racing 17 20.046 1.542
16 12 Keyvan Andres HWA AG 17 20.391 0.345
17 16 Andreas Estner Jenzer Motorsport 17 25.426 5.035
18 8 Fabio Scherer Charouz Racing System 17 25.864 0.438
19 4 Liam Lawson MP Motorsport 17 26.724 0.860
20 24 Alessio Deledda Campos Racing 17 27.058 0.334
21 21 JUri Vips HitechGP 17 1'37.427 1'10.369
22 7 Lirim Zendeli Charouz Racing System 15 2 Laps 2 Laps
DNF 9 Raoul Hyman Charouz Racing System 14 3 Laps 1 Lap
DNF 31 Logan Sargeant Carlin 14 3 Laps
DNF 2 Max Fewtrell ART Grand Prix 13 4 Laps 1 Lap
DNF 11 Jake Hughes HWA AG 9 8 Laps 4 Laps
DNF 17 Devlin DeFrancesco Trident 9 8 Laps 17.060
DNF 5 Simo Laaksonen MP Motorsport 2 15 Laps 7 Laps
DNF 19 Niko Kari Trident 1 16 Laps 1 Lap
DNF 15 Giorgio Carrara Jenzer Motorsport 1 16 Laps 0.453

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