FIA Formula 3 champion Robert Shwartzman’s hopes of winning the World Cup-awarding Macau Grand Prix ended on the first lap of the race after contact broke the Prema driver’s front wing.
The Russian was second fastest in qualifying, then followed poleman Juri Vips home in the qualification race in a battle with the Hitech GP driver where he believed he “took it too easy” at times.
His grand prix began by being put immediately under investigation for an incorrect grid procedure, then off the line he was bettered by ART Grand Prix’s Christian Lundgaard.
They ran side-by-side through Reservoir, and Lundgaard’s left-rear wheel rubbed against Shwartzman’s front wing as both were passed by race winner Richard Verschoor through Mandarin. Shwartzman’s wing collapsed, and he stopped his car at Lisboa.
“A very sad ending here in Macau,” said Shwartzman.
“Started second, then at Mandarin had contact which broke my front wing.
“All weekend we had really good pace and were fighting for the win. Macau is like a gambling game, you never know what is going to happen.
“Anyways, we did all we could this week, thank you Prema – the car was on the top [level].”
Shwartzman’s team-mates also had bittersweet weekends, with a qualifying crash compromising Marcus Armstrong, before both he and Frederik Vesti were held up by the opening lap crash in the qualification race.
They recovered to 17th and 18th, and had similarly strong charges up the order in the grand prix to finish eighth and 10th.
“It’s a shame for the result because this weekend everything has been almost perfect,” Armstrong said.
“The car was really good, the starts, tyres, warm-ups were very strong. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in qualifying and then there was the pile-up in race one.
“That’s Macau, but we were fast, and we showed we had the potential to be at the front.
“P17 to P8 in the grand prix, sadly just started too far back to taste any of the bubbly stuff.
Formula Regional European champion Vesti, drafted in to Prema’s line-up to replace the injured Jehan Daruvala, was the only of the three without FIA F3 experience, but also the one not to crash.
“”It has been a really nice weekend, probably the best of my life,” Vesti declared.
“To race here in Macau is very special, and this year with the new car it has been amazing.
Today we had a good recovery from P18 to P10 with a lot more potential, which is the most positive part.?It was a fun race with lots of overtakes [too].”