FIA Formula 3: Hello and welcome to today’s FIA Formula 3 press conference following qualifying here in Sochi. We are joined by the top three qualifiers for tomorrow’s opening race. On Pole Position, Robert Shwartzman from PREMA Racing, in second place Jehan Daruvala from PREMA Racing, and in third place Marcus Armstrong from PREMA Racing. Robert, it’s a big weekend here at your home race, with a title showdown as well, to go out and get your first pole position since Round 1 must feel like a perfect start for you.
Robert Shwartzman: It feels good. I knew my teammates would be really competitive so I knew it was going to be hard to fight for the pole, but it was manageable. Big thanks to the team because I struggled a bit in free practice with the balance so I wasn’t really sure how the car would feel for qualifying. But the car felt really good. We modified it and it was a really good step, for me at least. Obviously to take a pole position at home feels good, but it’s not job done. There are two races to go so I think that’s the main target for us.
FIA Formula 3: Looking at the qualifying session itself, your laps throughout, you seemed to make big gains every time you went out. How did you find it? Was the car pretty hooked-up by the end?
Robert: Yeah, the track was improving every lap. We knew that it would, so I tried to push as if every lap was my last lap. On my best lap I made a few mistakes in Sector 3 because I just tried to push as hard as I could, but generally it just felt better and better with every run. I think if there had been another 10 minutes we would have improved by another half a second.
FIA Formula 3: Well done today. Jehan, moving on to you now. Small margin to Robert in the end after a really intense battle between the two of you. Is it disappointing to miss out on pole, or are you pleased with the job you did?
Jehan Daruvala: It’s disappointing in a way not to be on pole, but it was a good result anyway being on the front row. The only thing is Rob has got four more points so it makes a bit harder. In general I struggled a lot on the first set of tyres compared to my teammates. I was not really happy with the warm-up, everyone backing each other up and stuff. On the second set I was confident that if I got on my own I could do laps good enough to fight for pole, which was the case in the end.
FIA Formula 3: You mentioned another four points to Robert in the title race, how does today’s result change your view or approach going into tomorrow?
Jehan: To be honest it doesn’t really change anything. I only have one option tomorrow and that is to win the race. I’ll be as aggressive as I can on the first lap and try to take the lead into Turn 2, after that whatever happens, happens. Apart from that I can’t really do anything.
FIA Formula 3: Marcus, moving on to you now. P3 today but you seemed to struggle a lot with traffic throughout the session. Could you explain what happened?
Marcus Armstrong: Throughout the session it was actually pretty clean, it was only the last lap which is a bit of a shame of course because I think we had really good speed in the entire session. It was the same this morning in free practice. Naturally I’m a little bit disappointed in the end result, even though I am sitting here. I can’t be too disappointed but then again I think there was a lot more potential. A good job to these two. I do think that tomorrow’s race is going to be one of the better ones this year for sure.
FIA Formula 3: What is your thinking behind that? Why do you think it will be one of the better races?
Marcus: It’s a long run down to Turn 2, and I have got nothing to lose. Jehan’s got more or less nothing to lose and then Robert has everything to lose [laughs]. I think it’s going to be fun in that aspect, but also you’ve got Niko Kari and Christian Lundgaard very close as well. If we get through the first two corners as it should be, it will be a hard race anyway because the DRS is obviously going to be very efficient and I think it’s going to be fun to watch from the outside for sure.
FIA Formula 3: Let’s hope so. Well done today. Robert, moving back to you now. As Marcus touched on it’s a very big day coming up for you tomorrow. How are you managing your nerves going into the title showdown?
Robert: I just need to do my job and not make any mistakes. I will try to push, like I said in Monza, my target is always to go forward. But if there is a situation where I can see that one of these two, or someone else from another team, will be much faster I’m not going to do stupid things. It will be pointless. Obviously the target is to do a good start, keep pushing, and try to make a gap as soon as possible. Marcus was speaking about DRS but he didn’t mention that tomorrow it’s probably going to be raining, and there is no DRS in the rain. It’s going to be more fun and maybe a bit tricky for the corners, but we’ll see how it goes.