Armstrong leads from lights-to-flag for first win

Marcus Armstrong
Marcus Armstrong

Marcus Armstrong ruled Race 2 in Budapest with a lights-to-flag finish that saw him cross the line a massive 12s ahead of Leonardo Pulcini for his first ever FIA Formula 3 win.

The PREMA man had spent a mammoth 97 Laps inside of the top three ahead of Round 5, but was yet to have a victory to show for it. He set the record straight on Sunday with a dominant drive around the Hungaroring, ahead of Hitech Grand Prix racer Pulcini and HWA RACELAB’s Jake Hughes.

The Kiwi brushed off an attack at the start from the Italian, who attempted to pass him on the second turn. The duo kissed tires, which forced Pulcini to ease off and allowed Armstrong to scuttle on ahead.

There was little movement in behind, with most of the top ten clinging onto their original positions. Felipe Drugovich in particular was hanging onto 3rd by a thread. He was being hounded and harried by the dazzling red PREMA of Robert Shwartzman, but just about survived the opening few laps.

The battle continued as the lap tally hit double figures and still Drugovich would not falter. PREMA urged Shwartzman to overtake, but he was struggling to find the speed or the space. Eventually he gathered enough power to pull side-by-side with the Carlin Buzz racer, who remained just millimeters in front.

Just as Drugovich thought he had held on, his tire was struck by the front-wing of Shwartzman, which tore into his rubber and caused a puncture. He quickly dropped back and would eventually retire from the pits. Shwartzman was momentarily in 3rd, but his front-wing was battered and his bruised PREMA couldn’t sustain the pace and he too dropped back, before also retiring from the pits. Stewards swiftly deemed the collision a racing incident that required no further investigation.

From left, Leonardo Pulcini, Marcus Armstrong and Jake Hughes
From left, Leonardo Pulcini, Marcus Armstrong and Jake Hughes

This handed Juri Vips the podium place he came so close to clinching in Race 1. Initially, it was Max Fewtrell in behind, but the Briton slowed and fell out of contention. This allowed Hughes into 4th and a chance at a second podium place. Race 1 repeated itself as the HWA racer bombed down the side of the Estonian on the straight and into the first corner for 3rd.

The chaos going on behind had allowed Pulcini to put 18s between himself and 3rd place, while Armstrong topped the pack by 12s, meaning the duo crossed the line unchallenged. In 3rd remained Hughes, with his second podium of the weekend, as Vips and Christian Lundgaard completed the top five. Yuki Tsunoda finished 6th, ahead of Jehan Daruvala, who had managed to climb into the points for the first time this weekend. Logan Sargeant, Liam Lawson and Bent Viscaal completed the top ten.

Having missed out on the points in Race 2, Shwartzman’s lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship has been slashed to just 12, ahead of Vips, who is on 112. Jehan Daruvala is only eight behind, while Armstrong has 98. Lundgaard completes the top five with 73. In the Teams’ Championship, PREMA retain their stranglehold with 326, ahead of Hitech Grand Prix on 165 and ART Grand Prix on 147. HWA RACELAB are fourth with 66 and Trident 5th with 58.

With the title chase closer than ever and just 20 points separating the top three in the Championship, the next round in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium will be unmissable, when racing returns at the end of August.

Results

POS DRIVER TEAM BEHIND
1 Marcus Armstrong Prema Racing 0.000s
2 Leonardo Pulcini Hitech GP 12.670s
3 Jake Hughes HWA 18.984s
4 Juri Vips Hitech GP 24.401s
5 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 25.564s
6 Yuki Tsunoda Jenzer Motorsport 25.889s
7 Jehan Daruvala Prema Racing 29.557s
8 Logan Sargeant Carlin 37.297s
9 Liam Lawson MP Motorsport 38.326s
10 Bent Viscaal HWA 39.726s
11 Devlin Defrancesco Trident 42.535s
12 Niko Kari Trident 44.271s
13 Fabio Scherer Charouz 44.730s
14 Keyvan Andres HWA 45.752s
15 Andreas Estner Jenzer Motorsport 46.061s
16 Alex Peroni Campos Racing 47.164s
17 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 47.437s
18 Simo Laaksonen MP Motorsport 48.276s
19 David Beckmann ART Grand Prix 48.515s
20 Lirim Zendeli Charouz 49.061s
21 Giorgio Carrara Jenzer Motorsport 53.521s
22 Yifei Ye Hitech GP 56.636s
23 Sebastian Fernandez Campos Racing 58.296s
24 Max Fewtrell ART Grand Prix 58.550s
25 Raoul Hyman Charouz 1m04.567s
26 Alessio Deledda Campos Racing 1m06.260s
27 Pedro Piquet Trident 1m11.427s
Robert Shwartzman Prema Racing Retirement
Felipe Drugovich Carlin Retirement
Teppei Natori Carlin Retirement

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