Formula 3

Vips Ends PREMA’s Winning Streak at the Red Bull Ring

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Credit: Joe Portlock/FIA Formula 3 Championship

Jüri Vips claimed his maiden FIA Formula 3 Championship victory at the Red Bull Ring ending PREMA Racing‘s race win streak.

The Hitech Grand Prix driver was joined on the podium by ART Grand Prix‘s Max Fewtrell and pole-sitter Marcus Armstrong.

At the start, Vips clung onto third despite an attempted overtake by championship leader Jehan Daruvala when the lights went out.

Pole-sitter Armstrong came under threat and briefly lost first to Fewtrell who made a quick getaway from second. The Briton got ahead of the New Zealander, holding onto the racing line but Armstrong muscled his way back through.

After a promising start, it all started to unravel for Fewtrell who was soon fighting off Vips who was also having to defend from Daruvala behind.

Vips come out on top of the three-way scrap, leaving Fewtrell to fend off Daruvala as he hunted down Armstrong.

It did not take long for the Estonian to catch the Kiwi, sweeping past down the inside of Turn 3 and into the lead.

Fewtrell, behind had gained a strong tow and followed him through as the Armstrong lost two positions in one move. The poleman looked to react, but a poor exit gave the Briton breathing space.

Another three-way tussle developed further back between Jake Hughes, Pedro Piquet and Robert Shwartzman with the latter looking for a recovery drive after a technical issue in qualifying meant he ended twelfth but penalties promoted him to ninth on the grid.

The Russian, emphasised his desire by setting the fastest lap at the point, but was not able to capitalise on a mistake from Piquet at Turn 1.

Piquet responded by setting a new fastest lap and confidently took fifth from Hughes; the Briton battled back and reclaimed fifth but soon found himself losing another place to Shwartzman.

The trio went three-abreast with Shwartzman getting the better of Piquet and Hughes.

Ahead, Daruvala was becoming increasingly frustrated at not being able to pass Armstrong for the final podium place on the last lap.

The Indian driver, saw an opportunity for a final attack diving down the inside of the Kiwi at Turn 4 but got too close to his team-mate and backed off as the PREMA pair came close to Fewtrell’s rear wing.

Leaving those behind to fight it out, Vips claimed the first victory of his F3 career.

Fewtrell came second with Armstrong holding onto third.

Daruvala and Shwartzman settled for fourth and fifth, followed by Piquet, Hughes, Lirim Zendeli, Leonardo Pulcini and Richard Verschoor.

Heading into tomorrow’s Sprint Race, the top two in the championship remains unchanged. Vips has leapfrogged Armstrong for third with the Kiwi fourth ahead of Piquet.

PREMA still lead the way in the Teams’ Championship with 204 points ahead of ART in second on 68. Hitech, are third on 61.

Zendeli will start on reverse grid pole tomorrow, with the highly experienced Hughes starting alongside him as the race gets underway at 9.35 local time.

2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship: Red Bull Ring – Feature Race

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An NCTJ accredited Journalism Graduate covering DTM and the FIA Formula 3 Championship.
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