Kiwi on form in Sochi, finishing ahead of Shwartzman and Kari

Marcus Armstrong topped the final Free Practice session of the FIA Formula 3 season, ahead of Championship leader Robert Shwartzman. The Russian, who is hoping to wrap up the title this weekend, couldn’t quite match his Kiwi teammate, lapping 0.328s behind. The duo finished ahead of Trident’s Niko Kari, who scored his best session placing since Round 1.

Lirim Zendeli and Ye Yifei got Free Practice underway on a cool morning in the Black Sea resort. The duo exchanged first and second in the early stages before Pedro Piquet took the times to under 1m 56s.

The PREMAs didn’t take long to warm up their tyres and Armstrong quickly seized control of proceedings, slashing the laps down to under 1m 55s, nearly 0.5s ahead of his teammate Shwartzman.

Christian Lundgaard made an attempt to dislodge him from first and briefly claimed P1, before the Kiwi replaced him moments later. The Trident machines were showing early pace, as Niko Kari not only joined Piquet near the top, but went faster. The Finn missed out on P1 by just 0.074s and was backed up by Shwartzman in third.

With five minutes on the clock, the final PREMA, Jehan Daruvala, leapt 10 places from 13th to third to steal the position from Shwartzman, but the Russian’s next tour of the Sochi Autodrom proved quicker and pushed the Indian down into fourth.

Determined to lay down a marker ahead of a massive weekend for the Ferrari F1 junior, Shwartzman thundered through a final lap for second place, but still couldn’t match his teammate as Armstrong held on to P1.

Kari completed the top three, ahead of Daruvala and Yifei. Zendeli, Lundgaard, Max Fewtrell, Piquet and Jüri Vips completed the top 10. The field return to action in the early afternoon, when Qualifying will take place at 1pm (local time).

2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship Round 8 – Free Practice provisional classification

1 Marcus Armstrong PREMA Racing 1:53.504 16
2 Robert Shwartzman PREMA Racing 1:53.832 17
3 Niko Kari Trident 1:54.052 16
4 Jehan Daruvala PREMA Racing 1:54.088 16
5 Ye Yifei Hitech Grand Prix 1:54.158 18
6 Lirim Zendeli Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 1:54.451 20
7 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 1:54.548 15
8 Max Fewtrell ART Grand Prix 1:54.574 15
9 Pedro Piquet Trident 1:54.628 18
10 Juri Vips Hitech Grand Prix 1:54.668 16
11 Raoul Hyman Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 1:54.778 19
12 Jake Hughes HWA RACELAB 1:54.785 16
13 Felipe Drugovich Carlin Buzz Racing 1:54.786 15
14 Leonardo Pulcini Hitech Grand Prix 1:54.836 16
15 Logan Sargeant Carlin Buzz Racing 1:54.935 16
16 Devlin DeFrancesco Trident 1:55.134 19
17 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 1:55.137 18
18 Simo Laaksonen MP Motorsport 1:55.185 16
19 Bent Viscaal HWA RACELAB 1:55.230 13
20 David Schumacher Campos Racing 1:55.258 16
21 Teppei Natori Carlin Buzz Racing 1:55.303 16
22 Yuki Tsunoda Jenzer Motorsport 1:55.387 18
23 Sebastian Fernandez Campos Racing 1:55.414 16
24 Fabio Scherer Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 1:55.460 17
25 Keyvan Andres HWA RACELAB 1:55.599 18
26 Alessio Deledda Campos Racing 1:56.138 19
27 Andreas Estner Jenzer Motorsport 1:56.177 19
28 Leong Hon Chio Jenzer Motorsport 1:56.972 19
29 Liam Lawson MP Motorsport 2:21.088 7

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