Robert Shwartzman: “I absolutely did not want it to finish the way it did”


Robert Shwartzman took the chequered flag first in both races at Paul Ricard, but penalties meant he scored no points all weekend - Credit: Jean Michel Le Meur / DPPI

Robert Shwartzman had a weekend to forget at Paul Ricard, and despite the young Russian finishing both races at the front of the field, he left France without adding a single point to his points tally after a pair of penalties.

The R-ace GP driver was penalised by the stewards in race one for causing a collision with Sacha Fenestraz at the chicane down the Mistral Straight on the final lap in race one, with the Josef Kaufmann Racing driver ending up upside-down as a result. The twenty-five second penalty, in lieu of a drive-through relegated him from first to twenty-third in the final classification!

Shwartzman admitted he did not intend the move he attempted to end the way he did, but once committed he found himself on the curb and unable to pull out of the passing attempt.

“I made a mistake at the start and preferred to let Max pass me because I had no chance to regain my position,” said Shwartzman on RenaultSport.com. “I was sliding a lot on the first three laps, but was able to pick up the speed when the tyres kicked in.

“After some fine moves, I overtook Max before catching up to Sacha just until the final duel. Everything was fine, he slowed at the entry to the chicane and I was a bit faster, I looked to the inside.

“I was on the curb and there was nothing I could do and we made contact. I absolutely did not want it to finish the way it did and I am sorry for that.”

Shwartzman appeared to respond to the penalty in the best possible manner on Sunday, leading from start to finish, but post-race checks found his car to have a modified anti-oil surge plate, which was against the regulations, and he was disqualified, ironically promoting Fenestraz to the victory.