PREMA Racing ended the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship in scintillating fashion today at Sochi as the Russian venue hosted the final sprint race of the season. After celebrating an early driver title with Robert Shwartzman in race 1, which followed the team title already secured at Monza, the Italian squad delivered another double podium finish. Marcus Armstrong took a great second place, up from P7 on the reversed starting grid. Shwartzman delivered third place, recovering well throughout the race. The second place in the championship was to be decided between Armstrong and Daruvala who unfortunately then was stuck on the grid. The only possible way to fix it was by connecting the car to the engineer’s laptop in the pitlane. Data later showed that Daruvala inadvertently activated the throttle learning procedure on the grid.
To get the nod on him, Armstrong needed the fastest lap and laid down a great mark on lap 7. Daruvala didn't back down though and went fastest on lap 11, but Armstrong finally reclaimed the point on lap 15. His 1m55.860 lap turned out to be untouchable, securing P2 for him in the driver standings.
Daruvala ended a positive 2019 campaign in third place having shown top-notch potential over the year and completing a tight 1-2-3 for PREMA Racing. The team couldn't hope for more to provide the new era of F3 racing with a thundering maiden season.
# 26 - Marcus Armstrong
“It was quite a positive race. I had a good start but had nowhere to go in turn 2 without taking any serious risk. I passed Robert, but it was only him. The rest of the race was fairly good and there was a point when we were all on a train. I just sat there and waited and waited to overtake. That was a good strategy even though it was a bit painful to wait that way. In the end, it worked well although the balance was not as good as yesterday, maybe for the temperature difference. Anyway, it was enough to contend for the win. I’m happy for second place in the championship!”
# 27 - Jehan Daruvala
“All in all it was a very good season. I’m a little gutted to have missed out on a second place in the championship which I think I deserved. I don’t know what happened exactly. I got some issues with the throttle at the start and couldn’t get going for the formation lap. I tried my best to recover and I finished ninth on the track, getting a penalty later. Tough times happen in motorsport, we have to accept it and move on. All in all, I’m very happy about the season as the team did a fantastic job, and I’m proud of what I achieved together with them.”
# 28 - Robert Shwartzman
“Hard race, one of my toughest of the season because I was struggling right from the beginning with my tires. It was very tough to have a good speed and get past. Slowly, step by step, I got past Kari and then there was an incident where Pulcini spun. I got in the slipstream of Hughes and passed him but he was close to me, putting pressure. Then I had Piquet in front and I’m sorry for him because he stopped on the straight. It’s tough to lose a podium like that. I was in P3 and, on the last lap, Hughes kept the pressure. I resisted and finishing third was the maximum we could do. Taking away the positives from the weekend, yesterday was just an amazing day. I was so busy with the media and fans, it was really a dream experience.”