Armstrong wins, a​s Shwartzman is crowned champion

by Ed Spencer

Robert Shwartzman has been crowned the 2019 FIA Formula 3 champion after a conservative drive which saw him beat teammate Jehan Daruvala for the title, whilst his Prema teammate Marcus Armstrong took overall victory.

After securing pole position on Friday Shwartzman just needed to win the feature race to wrap the F3 championship, whilst Daruvala needed to win the race in order to just keep the title fight alive for Sunday’s sprint race.

With an 80% chance of rain expected, strategy would play a joker card for both title challengers as the heavens opened on the formation lap.

Their would be 28 cars lining up on the grid as Lirim Zendeli pulled out of the race before the start.

As the lights went out, it was Armstrong who got the jump going straight past teammate Shwartzman as they headed down to turn one, whilst Daruvala fell to sixth, after bogging down on the line which saw his already slim championship hopes damaged.

The Indian quickly started his comeback after dispatching Christian Lundgaard for fifth into Turn 1.

Bent Viscaal was the first retirement of the race at Turn 5 after spinning out on the astroturf, the incident brought out the virtual safety car.

With the rain getting heavier, Trident reacted by pitting Devlin DeFrancesco in order to assess how wet the conditions were, with Carlin following suit by pitting Felipe Drugovich.

Hon Chio Leong‘s F3 debut ended on lap 4 after the Macanese driver crashed his Jenzer Motorsport machine into the barrier which brought out the safety car to remove the wreckage, with Trident and Carlin ending their wet weather experiment too.

The safety car pulled into the pits on lap 7, with Niko Kari attacking Shwartzman into turn 1, but with the Russian conscious about the championship situation he decided not to risk damaging the car and let Kari passed into second.

The steward’s room was kept busy with DeFrancesco receiving a five-second time penalty for a virtual safety car infringement, whilst Jüri Vips was handed a ten-second penalty for colliding with Lundgaard under the safety car which sent the Dane tumbling down the order.

Kari finally took the lead after pulling a superb move around the outside of Armstrong into turn 15.

The Kiwi attempted to exact his revenge on the Finn but failed to get the car stopped in time and lost two positions in a matter of corners with Leonardo Pulcini passing around the outside into turn 5.

Shwartzman moved into the lead with the help of DRS into Turn 1 on lap 13 with his Prema team telling him to push and to try and extend the gap.

Daruvala’s miserable race continued with first Vips getting by at turn 14, before Jake Hughes got through into turn 1, although the Indian did repass the Brit on the same lap.

Armstrong finally got the move on Kari completed into turn 1, with the Kiwi learning from his previous failures to restore Prema’s 1-2.

Pedro Piquet produced a late charge through the order with the Trident passing Hughes for seventh on the road which would become sixth after Vips’s penalty would be applied.

On the last lap, Armstrong completed his comeback by passing Shwartzman into Turn 1, with the Russian unable to respond as he thought about the championship.

Armstrong took his third win of the season, ahead of champion Shwartzman, Kari, Pulcini,Daruvala and Piquet with Hughes grabbing the fastest lap at the end, whilst the penalised Vips would be on the reverse grid pole position with eighth spot.

Shwartzman becomes the inaugural champion of the new era of F3 as well as the first Russian to take an FIA support championship since Daniil Kvyat took the GP3 title in 2013.

126Marcus ArmstrongPrema Racing20
228Robert ShwartzmanPrema Racing201.077
319Niko KariTrident Racing204.911
420Leonardo PulciniHitech Grand Prix206.007
527Jehan DaruvalaPrema Racing208.349
618Pedro PiquetTrident Racing209.479
711Jake HughesHWA Racelab2011.422
821Jüri VipsHitech Grand Prix20 14.020
99Raoul HymanSauber Junior Team by Charouz2015.501
106Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport2021.576
112Max FewtrellART Grand Prix2022.461
1214Yuki TsunodaJenzer Motorsport2025.807
1322Ye YifeiHitech Grand Prix2026.051
143Christian LundgaardART Grand Prix2027.950
1531Logan SargeantCarlin Buzz Racing2030.158
1625Sebastián FernándezCampos Racing2031.083
175Simo LaaksonenMP Motorsport2035.981
184Liam LawsonMP Motorsport2037.545
1912Keyvan AndresHWA Racelab2039.851
2029Teppei NatoriCarlin Buzz Racing2042.861
2124Alessio DeleddaCampos Racing2043.912
2223David SchumacherCampos Racing2059.897
2317Devlin DeFrancescoTrident Racing201.03.815
2416Andreas EstnerJenzer Motorsport201.11.999
2530Felipe DrugovichCarlin Buzz Racing201.12.808
DNF8Fabio SchererSauber Junior Team by Charouz9Technical Faliure
DNF15Hon Chio LeongJenzer Motorsport3Crash
DNF10Bent ViscaalHWA Racelab1Crash
DNS7Lirim ZendeliSauber Junior Team by CharouzNon Starter

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