Ferrari junior Robert Shwartzman has been crowned as FIA Formula 3 champion with one race to spare after finishing second in Sochi on Saturday, falling to a late defeat to Prema teammate Marcus Armstrong.

Shwartzman took pole for the season finale on Friday afternoon before losing the lead to Armstrong on the run to Turn 2, only for both drivers to come under pressure from Trident’s Niko Kari.

Shwartzman managed to move back into the lead after losing out to Kari on the Safety Car restart following a crash for Leong Hon Chio, but had Armstrong filling up his mirrors heading onto the final lap.

Armstrong dived down the inside of Shwartzman at Turn 1 to seize the lead before defending through Turn 3, allowing him to take his third victory of the season.

But second place was enough for Shwartzman to wrap up the title as Jehan Daruvala – his sole remaining championship rival – could only finish fifth.

The result marks Shwartzman’s first major title in single-seaters, having finished third in last year’s FIA European F3 series, and is set to lead to a move into Formula 2 for 2020.

Niko Kari scored his first podium finish since the opening round of the year in Spain, taking P3 for Trident after Juri Vips received a penalty that dropped him back to eighth. Leonardo Pulcini took fourth ahead of Daruvala, with Pedro Piquet and Jake Hughes following in sixth and seventh respectively.

Red Bull junior Vips will start Sunday’s final race of the season from reverse grid pole.

 

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