FIA Formula 3: Hello and welcome to the FIA Formula 3 press conference following today's opening race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Joining us are the top three finishers from Race 1. In third place Marcus Armstrong from PREMA Racing, in second place Christian Lundgaard from ART Grand Prix, and your race winner Robert Shwartzman of PREMA Racing. Robert, congratulations today, not P1 on track but you did well to keep Christian within your sights meaning that when the penalty was applied you got the race win. Can you sum up your feelings in this moment?
Robert Shwartzman: Well, let's start from the beginning. I struggled a bit with the start so Christian did a better start, was on the inside, and I tried to do a move around the outside but he defended well. Then I took the second place at the beginning and I was a bit worried, a bit mixed as I was defending from Marcus so he had a little gap, I think 1 second, straight away. For the next laps I didn't try to push straight away. I thought I should wait a bit, get the rhythm, and basically the whole race I was behind him by more or less the same gap like 1 or 1.5 seconds. I was planning to push on the last laps but at some point the Virtual Safety Car came out. It was a bit difficult, and strange for me because I've never experienced that kind of Virtual Safety Car, but when I saw the light I just backed off. I didn't take any risks. I knew there was quite a big gap from me to Marcus so I was like 'if I lose a few tenths it's not going to change my life', so I took it safe. We did three laps under the Virtual Safety Car and after the restart I tried to push. I think I overshot on one lap and it made my tyres dirty and I was slowly dropping from Christian, and then we finished the race where we did. I was quite happy with P2 as well, it was still good points, solid lap times, but when I heard I was P1 because there was a mistake with the Virtual Safety Car for Christian of course it's a thing where I was feeling good but not that sort of feeling when you finish on the chequered flag in first position. We still need to do a job to improve ourselves and hopefully we're going to win the next race properly.
FIA Formula 3: Well done. A good start to the season as well, maximum points for you so far. I know it's very early days but to make such a strong start must be good for your confidence and a good boost?
Robert: Yeah sure. Marcus said yesterday that we did a good winter testing, I mean the work we have done is really good and the team did a really great job. It gave me a lot of confidence. It doesn't mean we're perfect. We still have a lot of things to improve and to learn but we have a good starting point from this weekend.
FIA Formula 3: Congratulations. Christian moving on to you now. Hard luck with the defeat. How did you find out in parc fermé? It must be disappointing?
Christian Lundgaard: Yeah, I kind of knew straight away. I wasn't told over the radio because I think they wanted to keep me calm but I had a pretty good idea of it. The Virtual Safety Car on my dash started before the light, so I kind of kept pushing because we always go for the lights. I think that's where it happened, I don't know, I'm not 100% sure. In the end when it finished I just tried to push the maximum I could to pull even more away, because I knew that I was going to get a penalty so I tried to pull it out but it wasn't possible.
FIA Formula 3: But the race itself, a perfect start as Robert said and then a pretty dominant display so you can be very proud of that.
Christian: Yeah. Over winter testing we actually struggled a bit on race pace, so it's actually a nice feeling to now be here when everyone's actually racing each other and we can actually be in front and pull away. That's one positive thing we can take from here.
FIA Formula 3: Well done. Marcus moving on to you now. We saw quite a good start from you, you nearly got up the inside of both of these guys. Did you consider a dive?
Marcus Armstrong: Yes. I did have a good start and I wasn't expecting both of them to go into Turn 1 side-by-side. I was expecting at least one to be ahead so I could take advantage, but instead they both went side-by-side so there wasn't a lot I could do. Christian left enough space for me to at least try and get down the inside. I don't really know how it all panned out, I think I need to watch the video again but I just sort of thought 'it's better to finish the race instead of finishing it right here'. Then again with Robert in Turn 3 I tried to go around the outside and, fair enough, he sort of pushed me off which is okay, I mean this is racing. I'm happy with my third place. Of course I would have liked to challenge closer to the front but it's a good starting point and I do think that I needed the experience of one full race before I try to do something more, because obviously I don't have huge experience on this tyre and there's a lot to be gained on managing it properly.
FIA Formula 3: Keeping these two guys within sight, were you plotting a late attack a bit like Robert was, or was it just a case of pushing lap after lap and not quite being able to stay within reach?
Marcus: As I said, I didn't really have a firm strategy, which is not usual for me. I went with the flow with Robert and Beckmann behind me. I obviously tried to keep David outside the DRS zone because it's obviously difficult to manage if he's there. On the last few laps I was actually very happy with the car, so again a massive thank you to PREMA and we can go forwards from here.
FIA Formula 3: Well done. Robert returning to you now. You've been out front all weekend but tomorrow is a different proposition starting P8 on the reverse grid. Are you relishing a chance to fight through the field and put in some overtakes?
Robert: Yeah sure, I mean it's really interesting. We get some solid points, we've shown that we were one of the quickest and now it's just time to show how good we can battle with each other. I have Christian and Marcus in front, and other good drivers, so it's going to be a proper fight. Pace-wise I think we're really strong so if everything is good, we do a good start and gain some positions, I'll try to do my best as usual. I'll push as hard as I can and we'll see where we end up tomorrow.