Italy F3: Incident packed weekend sees major title implications

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Formula 3 saw an incident packed weekend that saw Prema take charge in the championship after mistakes from Juri Vips led to his title hopes diminishing.

Race 1 was incident packed to say the least, and saw multiple lead changes. Lirim Zendeli’s start was flawless and he took the lead from Christian Lundgaard, however unfortunately the pair would collide, putting Zendeli out of the race and breaking Lundgaard’s front wing. This promoted Verschoor to the lead until Armstrong passed him. However a charging Shwartzman passed both Verschoor and then Armstrong to take the lead. He was kept honest until Alex Peroni’s dramatic accident where he launched off the anticut into the fence, where thankfully he and the marshals were OK, brought the safety car out which effectively ended the race. Robert Shwartzman won from Marcus Armstrong and Jehan Daruvala, who fought his way through to make it an all Prema podium. Or so they thought, as a post race penalty for a safety car infringement dropped Armstrong down the field. This promoted Yuki Tsunoda, who drove well to take the final podium spot ahead of Richard Verschoor, who eventually dropped to fifth but was promoted by Armstrong’s penalty. Pedro Piquet finished in fifth ahead of Jake Hughes, Liam Lawson and Fabio Scherer, who took reverse grid pole. With Logan Sargeant and Leonardo Pulcini rounding out the points. Juri Vips was fighting his way through the field but an incident when battling with Keyvan Andres put him out of the race and rendered his title hopes obsolete.

A wet start to Sunday’s race saw the field start on wet tyres. Jake Hughes instantly took the lead from Fabio Scherer, before being followed by the fast starting Yuki Tsunoda. The Red Bull Junior then caught up to Hughes. It took a few attempts but eventually he took the lead and took his first win in F3. His fellow Red Bull Junior, Liam Lawson was charging and he found his way to second, with Hughes taking the final podium spot. Richard Verschoor finished in fourth ahead of Pedro Piquet and Leonardo Pulcini. Fabio Scherer dropped to seventh with Robert Shwartzman taking the final point in eighth, the only Prema to score after his team-mates hit trouble.

Robert Shwartzman has a 33 point lead over Jehan Daruvala and looks likely to take the championship at his home race in Sochi. Juri Vips and Marcus Armstrong are now mathematically out of the title chase after their woes.

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