THOUGHTS FROM VIPS, ARMSTRONG AND SHWARTZMAN
FIA Formula 3: Jüri Vips, your second win of the season. It’s a good way to finish the campaign, and it was a race you lead from start to finish. How was it from the car?
Jüri Vips: It was okay. At the start I would say I actually struggled a bit, to create a gap to Jake [Hughes] but then I got very lucky. I don’t know what happened exactly, but I saw Leo[nardo Pulcini] go side-by-side and suddenly one of them spun. After that it was actually quite positive to see that the tyres were holding on very well even though I was pushing the whole race. I couldn’t really go much faster. We matched the PREMA’s, which is a big achievement I would say [laughs]. It was a good race. I was really pushing for the fastest lap and I made one really big mistake in the braking of Turn 13. I had a big lock-up and lost about two seconds, then had a massive flat spot until the end. It was just because I was pushing so hard to try and get the fastest lap. Other than that, I’m happy.
FIA Formula 3: It’s not been the easiest end of the season for you, maybe a little bit disappointing in how you were on course to try and fight for at least P3 in the championship, how satisfying is this final win for you?
Jüri: To be fairly honest, absolutely nothing. All I really cared about was the championship and the reality is I could have taken the fight to the PREMA’s, but I’ve made too many little mistakes this season. I think my one-lap pace has always been really good and I’ve been happy with it, happy with the tyre management, but it’s little things here and there like starts and, for example, safety car restarts like yesterday. It’s cost me quite a few points this weekend. I definitely don’t think it was possible to have won, they were just way too fast, but maybe second or third could have been possible. At the end of the season, we’ve really struggled as a team in the last few races. Here was a bit better but Spa and especially Monza we really struggled.
FIA Formula 3: At the end of the season it’s second place in the Teams’ Championship for Hitech, which is something positive to come out of the season.
Jüri: For sure. I’m happy for them. It was very good to work with them. They’re a very professional team, and I’m happy for them. They deserve it.
FIA Formula 3: What’s next for you?
Jüri: I don’t know. Dr Helmut [Marko] is going to decide for me what I’m going to do, so I just have to wait and see.
FIA Formula 3: Marcus Armstrong. P2 in today’s race, P2 in the championship. Obviously you came into the season looking to win it, but overall, has it been a good day?
Marcus Armstrong: Yeah. I think that this year we’ve had a huge amount of potential. It’s not disappointing to finish second in the championship, but I just think that we a lot of potential this year, especially in terms of performance. Unfortunately, on paper it didn’t look that way, certainly up until this weekend, but we have shown some of that potential. The car has been quick all season and I’ve had two very strong teammates that have pushed me really hard, and for that I’m thankful. Also Jüri has always been there or thereabouts. This year’s F3 has been very competitive. The level is really high and there’s a lot of really strong drivers. For the team, it’s our first season in F3, it’s closer to GP3, so there wasn’t really any certainty as to how this year would go in terms of the team’s performance. They’ve done an extremely good job and I thank them for that.
FIA Formula 3: Going into today’s race, what was your plan? Did you think it was possible for you to finish ahead of Jehan [Daruvala] in the championship?
Marcus: Frankly, I was just looking forward to racing. In my mind, even during the race, not once did I think about P2 in the championship to be honest. Before the race, I just wanted to win it to be quite honest. We almost did [laughs], but Jüri was a wee bit too fast at the end. I had to hack at the start with about four other drivers, and I made a few mistakes as well, pushing hard, et cetera. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the race but we managed to get second in the championship which was a nice surprise when I passed the chequered flag.
FIA Formula 3: What about next year?
Marcus: Wow. I don’t know. I haven’t even thought about it [laughs]. I’m not sure. You’ll have to ask someone else.
FIA Formula 3: Robert Shwartzman, you’re Formula 3 champion and you finished perhaps as a champion should finish a championship by placing on the podium. P3 today, how was it from the car?
Robert Shwartzman: It was really tough race. One of the toughest this season, because I was struggling with tyre management. My front left was destroyed at the beginning so I had a lot of problems with the rotation. I was trying to do my best all race to push as hard as I could, and in the second part of the race I managed to get past Niko [Kari] and then get past Jake [Hughes]. Jake was then always putting me under pressure. Then there was Pedro [Piquet]. I feel sorry for him because he had some failure with four laps to go, so it can be quite tough to lose a podium like that. I took P3 and right until the last lap Jake was so close to me. I did my best and I’m glad we finished P3. Another podium. I think it’s 10 podiums in 16 races, so that’s quite a decent job. I’m really happy about it. Generally, the weekend went really well even though, from my side, we maybe didn’t have the best car or the best pace, we got really good results. Yesterday I didn’t want to take any risks, so it was a different situation today. I did my best and P3 was the maximum I could do. I don’t really know what else to say. I’m really sorry for my teammate Jehan [Daruvala]. It was really sad that straight away he had a failure and he couldn’t challenge Marcus for second place in the championship. Hopefully he’ll get over it. I’m going to chat with him after to cheer him up because he’s a good guy. If you look again at the stats in the championship, it’s quite a decent gap. I’m happy about it, it means that we did a good job. We were consistent. There were a few mistakes in the championship, but you need those mistakes to learn. I want to thank everyone. It’s incredible. The crowd today, even though I was P3, was quite surprising. I didn’t think I’d get a repeat of yesterday. That was really cool so big thanks.