PREMA Racing got a phenomenal start for its 2019 FIA Formula 3 campaign by placing two of its drivers on the podium and bringing home victory in race 1 at Circuit de Barcelona. Starting from pole position, Russian Ferrari Driver Academy and SMP Racing supported driver Robert Shwartzman cruised to the first win of this new era. Shwartzman was passed at the start, but kept his cool and stayed in close pursuit of the leader for most of the distance. Then, due to a Virtual Safety Car infraction by his main contender, he was elevated to first place.
Making it even better was Marcus Armstrong, who delivered a fine performance and stayed out of trouble to take third place after dicing with his team-mate early in the running.
Starting from P4, Indian Jehan Daruvala dropped back at the start due to a minor clutch issue but battled as hard as he could. Unfortunately, the window for DRS use started later than expected for everybody so he lost the chance to fight back straight away. He ended up in seventh place and will be on the front row of race 2's reverse grid.
# 26 - Marcus Armstrong
"I'm happy with my third place. Of course, I would have liked to challenge closer to the front but it's a good starting point. I didn't have a good start and I wasn't expecting them to go into turn 1 side by side. Christian left it open and tried to dive in, but I thought that it was best to try and actually finish the race. It was the same with Robert. I tried to go to the outside and he, fair enough, forced me off a bit which is OK. It's racing. I felt like I needed the experience of one full race before I try to do something more, especially with the tires as there's a lot to be gained in managing them properly."
# 27 - Jehan Daruvala
"It didn't go quite to plan. At the start, I lost four to five positions as I think we had a bit of an issue with the clutch. Hopefully, we will get it solved for tomorrow. The pace was pretty good and I had nice battles with Vips and some other guys. It's a shame that the DRS didn't start early because I lost a lot of time trying to overtake Sergeant and the VSC period cost me a bit of time too."
# 28 - Robert Shwartzman
"I struggled a bit with the start, Christian caught me on the inside and then defended well. I took second place at the beginning and I was a bit worried I was defending from Marcus and the leader got a little gap right away. For the next laps, I didn't push immediately but tried to get the rhythm. I stayed on the same gap for most part of the race and I was planning to push in the last laps. Then, the virtual safety car came out and I had never experienced this system. When I saw the lights I backed off to avoid any risk. Afterwards, while I tried to push, the gap stabilized. Then when I was told I was in, P1 I got a good feeling but not as good as when you cross the checkered flag in the lead. We need to do our job and improve, so hopefully, we are going to win... properly in the next races."