Thoughts from Shwartzman, Armstrong and Daruvala
FIA Formula 3: Hello and welcome to today’s FIA Formula 3 press conference following the opening race here at Monza. We are joined by the top three finishers from Race 1. Your race winner Robert Shwartzman from PREMA Racing, in second place Marcus Armstrong from PREMA Racing and in third place Jehan Daruvala from PREMA Racing. Robert, you promised some attacking manoeuvres coming up through the field yesterday, you certainly delivered. How was your charge through the field?
Robert Shwartzman: It’s been really fun. I enjoyed it a lot. All three of us did really nice manoeuvres when overtaking. At the beginning I was behind Marcus, and actually Marcus was getting past the field and I was trying to stay with him and pass who he had passed. There was some nice manoeuvres, some tricky ones, especially at Lesmo 2 when I made the move on Max [Fewtrell]. It was quite tight but everything was fair and nice. Basically then Marcus was leading and I was second. We had good pace so I knew that we could get a gap, and then the safety car came out for the first time. After the restart my target was just not to make any stupid mistakes in Turn 1, just to continue, and Marcus had a good restart and a gap so I didn’t have any chance to attack. I just stayed behind and after two laps, when the DRS was enabled, he let me pass in order to work together to build a bigger gap. I got by and my target was simply not to make any mistakes and continue pushing. For three or four laps I was in front and then the second safety car came out. I heard that the driver was fine, which is obviously really important. It looks really big. The first lap that I passed I didn’t even realise where the car was, it was just debris on the track and nothing else. Only after some time did I realise the car was actually on the fence. I got told it was quite big so I’m happy that the driver is okay.
FIA Formula 3: A first win for you since Paul Ricard, a big boost for your title hopes going into the final few races of the season. How much of a breakthrough does this feel?
Robert: It felt like quite a long time, definitely. We were quite close, like P2 or P3, but yeah something was missing but today I felt that the car was really good. We had the pace to win and all three of us were just doing our jobs to get the win. Everything was fair and nice, so that’s the thing. I’m really happy that I won today. It was really tight. I had a lot of pressure from my teammates, it was hard, but today I’m happy that finally I got the win.
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations. Marcus moving on to you now. Could you talk us through your race and the battle you had with Robert for the lead?
Marcus Armstrong: It was an exciting race. The first lap I don’t know where I finished, maybe third, so that was pretty exciting and everything sort of went to plan. For whatever reason Christian [Lundgaard] wasn’t leading the race so that was a bit of a surprise because he was very quick yesterday. I don’t actually remember how I overtook them, there was so much action in that race I can’t quite remember it. The pace was pretty good because we got to the lead and pulled out quite a reasonable gap over [Richard] Verschoor. Then there was the safety car and Robert was behind me. It wasn’t easy because I obviously know that Robert is switched on and I had to surprise him a little bit, which I think I did. I managed to lead again for the first two laps after that before the DRS was activated. I felt as though I was destroying my tyres out in front, having to push so hard to break Robert, so I decided to let him go and just follow in his slipstream, use DRS and try and attack in the last few laps. People didn’t get to see what should have been a good last lap battle, but obviously we’re thankful that [Alex] Peroni is okay.
FIA Formula 3: It was a very significant result for PREMA as well, to get a one, two, three finish at a home race. Does this result just prove how good this team has been this season?
Marcus: Absolutely, especially here at Monza in front of all the team. A lot of people have come over from Grisignano to watch the race this morning. It was cool to see everyone under the podium, and also to have Guillaume [Capietto] on the podium with us was special. As I said on the radio, I’m very grateful to be a part of such a fantastic, well-organised team, and I think us finishing in the top three is almost our way of giving back [laughs].
FIA Formula 3: Well done today. Jehan moving on to you now. P3, but obviously the safety car at the end did end any hopes of a tight scrap between the three of you. How did you approach your race and how did you feel it went?
Jehan Daruvala: I think it was similar to the other guys. My start was really good and I got into a decent position behind Rob. My main problem in the race was that I didn’t have DRS the whole time, so it was very frustrating for me because the car was good and I felt I had the pace to also fight with the guys for the win. It was frustrating. I was fighting cars with DRS around me and I didn’t have it. I was using a lot of my tyres in the middle sector to try and break the DRS of the cars behind. At the end, when they were fighting, I got really close but on the straights I just couldn’t keep up. That was a bit disappointing for me, but again, to come third at Monza with no DRS is a really good result.
FIA Formula 3: Slipstream here is so important, and the DRS is so powerful, does it feel like damage limitation, in a way, to still get a podium finish?
Jehan: Like I said, I’m not really concerned with the result, I’m just upset that I didn’t have the chance to fight with the guys for the lead. I was just sat there hoping for something to happen, but I’d rather have been in the scrap for the lead.
FIA Formula 3: Well done today. Robert, moving back to you now. You started P8 today and fought through for the victory, I imagine you’ll want to repeat that tomorrow?
Robert: Sure. Tomorrow is also going to be an interesting race. I’m not sure about the weather because before it was said that there may be rain, but from the free practice I’m quite confident with the car we have and how everything is going, even in the rain. Whatever happens we’re going to fight, as today, and surely try just to collect some more points for the weekend.