PREMA Racing‘s Marcus Armstrong stormed to his maiden FIA Formula 3 Championship victory at the Hungaroring in the Sprint Race.
The New Zealander started from reverse grid pole position and cruised to the victory as he crossed the line with just over twelve and half seconds advantage over Leonardo Pulcini in second.
HWA RACELAB‘s Jake Hughes completed the podium.
It was a disappointing day for championship leader Robert Shwartzman who was forced to retire from a race for the first time this season.
Despite the commanding way in which Armstrong took the victory, it could have all gone wrong at the start after the Kiwi and Pulcini made contact at Turn 3.
Pulcini had been challenging Armstrong for the lead but the pair were able to carry on without any issues.
Armstrong was able to recover and pulled out almost a second gap over the Italian by the end of the lap.
Elsewhere, Shwartzman was harrying the rear of Felipe Drugovich with the PREMA man wanting to extend his advantage in the standings.
Second placed man in the championship, Jüri Vips joined their fight with a three-way battle ensuing.
Pedro Piquet and Alessio Deledda found themselves under investigation for overtaking during a yellow flag zone. Piquet was handed a ten second stop/go penalty as a result.
Out front, Armstrong had stretched his advantage to nearly three seconds over Pulcini and it was only growing.
His team-mate Shwartzman was being urged by PREMA to get passed Drugovich as quickly as possible if he was going to make progress up the field.
Meanwhile, Hughes overtook Max Fewtrell for sixth.
Knowing he needed to get the move done, Shwartzman pulled alongside Drugovich but the Brazilian managed to stay ahead.
However, the pair made contact and the Carlin Buzz Racing driver had a puncture and had to pull off the track and retire.
Shwartzman headed into the pits and had to retire too.
Amongst this, Jehan Daruvala moved ahead of Logan Sargeant as he looked to recover lost ground in the championship – with Shwartzman not scoring points this was a massive plus for the Indian.
In the battle for third, Hughes had closed down on Vips and was sitting on the rear of the Estonian and eased by to claim the final spot on the podium heading into the final laps.
Armstrong started the final lap with a ten second advantage, which had grown to a twelve and a half second gap by the time he crossed the line.
It is the Kiwi’s first victory in the new era of the Formula 3, and means all PREMA drivers have won a race this season and brings him back into the title fight.
Pulcini was second, with Hughes third for his second podium of the weekend.
Vips was fourth with Feature Race winner Christian Lundgaard in fifth.
Yuki Tsunoda, Daruvala, Sargeant, Liam Lawson and Bent Viscaal completed the top ten.
Shwartzman still heads the championship standings, but just a twelve point advantage over Vips.
Daruvala is third twenty points the Russian, with Armstrong six points behind him.
Heading into the closing stages of the championship, it looks as though it will be a four-way title fight between the PREMAs and Vips for the honours of being the first champion of the new era of Formula 3.
The championship now heads on a three week summer break and will get back underway at Spa-Francorchamps on 30 August – 1 September.
2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship: Hungaroring – Sprint Race
[table id=4029 /]