F.2: Shwartzman on the podium at Monza

Monza 12 September 2021

The Russian FDA driver comes away from the Italian round of the Formula 2 championship with 22 points, thanks to one third and two sixth places. One point in the end for Armstrong in Race 3

At the end of the eagerly anticipated Monza round, Robert Shwartzman consolidated his third place in the Formula 2 championship with a one third and two sixth place finishes. It was a tough weekend for the Russian as qualifying did not go as planned, but Robert fought back in all three races, so that in the end, it was a positive weekend. Marcus Armstrong’s weekend was also far from straightforward, with less than optimum grid positions in the three races. The New Zealander managed to pick up the final point on offer for tenth in the last race, at the end of a gritty drive in a far from easy weekend.

Qualifying. The session to decide the grid for the Feature Race saw Shwartzman go 12th fastest, while Armstrong was 17th. “It was not the start to the weekend we were looking for,” commented Robert. “We didn’t get the most out of the car and so we ended up outside the top 10. Of course I’m not happy and we have to understand what caused the problems that slowed us down. However, this is the best track of the season for overtaking opportunities, so we will try and fight back as from Race 1. It will be difficult but not impossible.”

Race-1. For both FDA drivers, the opening lap was the key to their race. As the lights went out, Shwartzman got away very well getting alongside those ahead of him on the fifth row. In the close fighting, Robert had to go wide on the right side of the track going over the continuous white line and that meant a time penalty was added to his race time at the end. Also on the opening lap, Armstrong was the innocent victim of a multiple collision which broke his front wing, so that he had to pit, rejoining last. After those troubles, both FDA drivers went on the attack, climbing up the order in style, with the New Zealander taking the chequered flag in eleventh place, four tenths off the tenth place which would have given him pole for the second race. Robert fought his way back al the way up to third and was classified sixth because of the 5 second penalty.

Race-2. Shwartzman started from fifth, with Armstrong on the sixth row. Robert lost a place at the start, but after a Virtual Safety Car period, he began to move up the order. On lap 8, he passed Liam Lawson, getting past Juri Vips on lap 11 and finally with a hard but fair move, he got the better of David Beckmann to get to the podium. “I’m still a bit disappointed about what could have been a podium in Race 1, but I’m happy,” commented Shwartzman. “I got away really well but I didn’t want to take any risks in the early stages with the battles going on ahead of me, so I eased off. Third place is still a good result and useful in terms of the championship.” Disappointment for Armstrong who picked up a 10 second penalty that dropped him to 15th.

Feature Race. 30 rather scrappy laps ended the weekend in Monza. The Safety Car came out three times because of crashes but the outcome was positive for the Ferrari Driver Academy drivers. Shwartzman had started on soft tyres and worked his way up from 12th on the grid to sixth at the flag, while Armstrong, running hard tyres, climbed up from 17th to tenth.

Russia. The FIA Formula 2 championship will be back on track at the Sochi circuit for the sixth round of eight this season.