Armstrong wins F3 Feature Race at Sochi
Fastest in free practice, Armstrong then turned a P3 qualifying position into a dominant victory in a mixed wet-dry race.
Afterward, an ecstatic Armstrong said his first feature race win was hard won on the low grip 5.8 km Formula One circuit at the Sochi ski resort in Russia.
“I’m really happy. The start was pretty good again just like Monza even though the track was not in ideal conditions. I took a risk with the clutch mapping which paid off because the grip was very low. I pushed a bit too hard trying to fight with Nico Kari but in the end, I was all out. Credit to Robert [team-mate Robert Shwartzman], who played it fairly but I knew he wasn’t doing anything stupid so I didn’t take risks, just took my chances, pushing to take the win.”
Rain complicated matters and while it wasn’t strong enough to require a change to wet tyres, it meant multiple drivers crashed and marred the first quarter of the race with virtual and full safety car periods.
As Armstrong took the chequered flag Shwartzman came through in second place, a second behind.
His win creates a three-car Prema ‘redwash’ in the season points table, with Shwartzman now holding an unassailable championship lead on 202 points, Jehan Daruvala second in 157 and Armstrong third on 144.
Today’s final race of the championship sees Estonian Juri Vips on pole, having finished eighth yesterday. British driver Jake Hughes is alongside him in P2. Even if Vips wins this evening’s race outright and Armstrong does not finish, the Estonian will be one point short of Armstrong.
Armstrong has led more laps than any other driver on the grid this season and the Prema trio have already handed their team a resounding victory in the teams’ championship, winning that title with two rounds to spare.
The 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship is live-streamed in New Zealand as part of the Spark Formula One coverage and live timing is at the championship website, www.fiaf3.com.