Vips​ ends​ the season on song with victory in Sochi

by Ed Spencer

Jüri Vips took the final victory of the FIA Formula 3 season, despite a late scare from Prema’s Marcus Armstrong who overhauled Jehan Daruvala to finish runner-up in the driver’s championship.

With the title already decided in the first race of the weekend, the second race would be the last chance the drivers would get to put themselves in the shop window for teams to sign them in 2020.

After finishing eighth in the first race, Vips would be on pole position, ahead of Britain’s Jake Hughes, while newly crowned champion Robert Shwartzman would start seventh.

There was drama before the start when Daruvala stalled on the formation lap, causing his Prema mechanics to hurriedly push him into the pits, where the Indian would now have to start the race from.

At the start Vips and Hughes got away locked together as they approached Turn 1, with Brit challenging for the lead, despite the pressure the Estonian held on to the position, further down the order Armstrong made his way up the pack by passing Niko Kari for fifth spot.

Hughes and Vips’s battle was costing them both time as Leonardo Pulcini closed up on to both drivers join the lead battle.

It ended disastrously for both Hughes and Pulcini as both drivers tangled with Pulcini spinning off and dropping him to the back of the pack.

Armstrong continued his charge with the Kiwi dispatching Pedro Piquet as he set about trying to get the fastest lap of the race in order for him to overhaul Daruvala to be runners up in the driver’s standings.

He then got the fastest lap on lap 8 before Daruvala who was now running down in eighteenth took the fastest lap back, but would need to pass eight more cars for the points to come into effect.

Lap 10 saw both Simo Laaksonen and Fabio Scherer retire from the race early through technical failures with both cars parked on the run-off area.

Upfront, nothing was seemingly troubling Vips, however as the Estonian continued to build up his gap over Armstrong to 3.4 seconds as he seemed on course for his third F3 win of the season and his first since race 1 at Silverstone.

Hughes’s miserable race continued with the now champion Shwartzman getting past to move the Russian up to fourth, which became third after Pedro Piquet retired from the race on lap 17.

Daruvala was having a storming drive as he moved up into ninth spot with Indian just needing to pass Liam Lawson to hang on for runners up in the driver’s championship.

Despite the gap being halved in the dying laps of the race, Vips hung on to win over Armstrong who sealed runners up in the championship with the fastest lap ahead of champion Shwartzman, Hughes, Kari and Yifei.

121Jüri VipsHitech Grand Prix20
226Marcus Armstrong Prema Racing202.159
328Robert ShwartzmanPrema Racing209.596
411Jake HughesHWA Racelab2010.290
519Niko Kari Trident Racing2015.259
622Ye YifeiHitech Grand Prix2024.090
76Richard VerschoorMP Motorsport2024.901
84Liam LawsonMP Motorsport2028.414
93Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 2032.766
1031Logan SargeantCarlin Buzz Racing 2033.237
112Max FewtrellART Grand Prix2034.111
1217Devlin DeFrancescoTrident Racing2034.475
139Raoul HymanSauber Junior Team by Charouz2034.829
1427Jehan DaruvalaPREMA Racing2037.091
1530Felipe DrugovichCarlin Buzz Racing2038.358
1620Leonardo PulciniHitech Grand Prix2040.358
1710Bent Viscaal HWA Racelab2040.604
1816Andreas Estner Jenzer Motorsport2046.161
1929Teppei Natori Carlin Buzz Racing2047.022
2023David SchumacherCampos Racing2054.463
2115Hon Chio LeongJenzer Motorsport201.05.369
2224Alessio Deledda Campos Racing201.28.601
2312Keyvan AndresHWA Racelab202.09.450
DNF25Sebastián FernándezCampos Racing19
DNF14Yuki TsunodaJenzer Motorsport19
DNF18Pedro Piquet Trident Racing17Technical Failure
DNF8Fabio SchererSauber Junior Team by Charouz10Technical Failure
DNF5Simo Laaksonen MP Motorsport10Technical Failure
DNS7Lirim Zendeli Sauber Junior Team by Charouz

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