Home Featured Robert Shwartzman beats Christian Lundgaard to inaugural FIA F3 victory after VSC penalty confusion

Robert Shwartzman beats Christian Lundgaard to inaugural FIA F3 victory after VSC penalty confusion

by Bethonie Waring

Photo: FIA Formula 3

Robert Shwartzman claimed victory in the opening race of the new FIA Formula 3 championship, despite not leading a lap.

Christian Lundgaard dominated the race, but lost the victory after the chequered flag when he was handed a five-second penalty for an infringement of the Virtual Safety Car procedure.

Lundgaard shot past poleman Shwartzman on the opening lap and built up a lead throughout the first half of the race. The action was paused when Alessio Deledda span into the gravel, prompting the first VSC of the season.

While others further back in the field came under scrutiny for overtaking under the VSC, Lundgaard also fell foul of the rules, though there was no notification of any investigation during the race.

When the track turned green four laps before the chequered flag, Shwartzman was able to reel in the Renault junior driver, closing the gap to 2.5s, but ran out of laps before he was close enough to make a move.

But as the cars pulled into parc ferme, it was revealed Lundaard was handed a time penalty for ?an incident during the virtual safety car period?. The penalty dropped him back to second, promoting Shwartzman to victory.

After challenging the front row starters early in the race, Marcus Armstrong fell back from the race leaders and came under pressure from David Beckmann. He held onto the position to take third, putting two Prema drivers on the podium.

Beckmann took fifth, ahead of Max Fewtrell and Juri Vips, who enjoyed a strong race to climb up from 11th?on the grid.

Also penalised for VSC infringements were Richard Verschoor, Teppei Natori and Alex Peroni. The three had been battling for position in the midfield, with Sargeant leading Peroni and Verschoor, when the VSC was called.

At the start of the caution period, they ran three abreast, with Verschoor leapfrogging both drivers and Peroni passing Sargeant. Verschoor later fell back, but Peroni finished ahead of Sargeant.

The season started with drama before the field even made it to the grid. Fabio Scherer and Keyvan Andres collided on the warm up lap, puncturing Scherer?s tyre and damaging the front of Andres? HWA Racelab car. Both would start from the pit lane, as would Leonardo Pulcini, who couldn?t get away from the grid for the formation lap.

Andres and Scherer were left running at the back of the field, though Pulcini was able to climb up the order to finish 19th.

Jehan Daruvrala took seventh, ahead of Niko Kari and Simo Laaksonen. Pedro Piquet had been running inside the top 10 early in the race, but span while battling Peroni for position and dropped down the order. Jenzer Motorsport’s Yuki Tsunoda came through the chaos to take the final point.


Race results (22 laps)
Pos Name Team Time
1 Robert Shwartzman Prema 37m42.312s
2 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix +2.529s
3 Marcus Armstrong Prema +3.426s
4 David Beckmann ART Grand Prix +4.432s
5 Max Fewtrell ART Grand Prix +10.300s
6 Juri Vips Hitech GP +14.536s
7 Jehan Daruvala Prema +14.928s
8 Niko Kari Trident +16.132s
9 Simo Laaksonen MP Motorsport +17.807s
10 Yuki Tsunoda Jenzer Motorsport +22.913s
11 Felipe Drugovich Carlin +25.576s
12 Alex Peroni Campos Racing +25.932s
13 Bent Viscaal HWA Racelab +29.348s
14 Lirim?Zendeli Sauber Junior Team by Charouz +30.237s
15 Logan Sargeant Carlin +31.386s
16 Sebastian Fernandez Campos Racing +31.926s
17 Jake Hughes HWA Racelab +32.207s
18 Artem Petrov Jenzer Motorsport +32.743s
19 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport +33.624s
20 Leonardo Pulcini Hitech GP +33.756s
21 Raoul Hyman Sauber Junior Team by Charouz +38.164s
22 Yifei Ye Hitech GP +40.024s
23 Devlin DeFrancesco Trident +40.474s
24 Teppei Natori Carlin +42.717s
25 Andreas Estner Jenzer Motorsport +43.385s
26 Pedro Piquet Trident +45.055s
27 Fabio Scherer Sauber Junior Team by Charouz +50.378s
28 Keyvan Andres HWA Racelab +1m07.412s
Ret Liam Lawson MP Motorsport
Ret Alessio Deledda Campos Racing
Fastest lap: Lundgaard, 1m35.209s