When you’re in the cockpit of the season’s most successful car, it’s more than likely that you will come up against your teammates at the front of the grid during the campaign. The question is, do you hold back? For Robert Shwartzman, the answer was a simple ‘no.’
The young Russian was faced with this scenario in Austria. Running in first, he had Marcus Armstrong breathing down his neck for the final few laps. The Kiwi was unrelenting as well, proving that the name on the car makes no alteration to the way that they race.
The duo diced and Armstrong eventually came out on top, but his teammate attempted to reclaim the position and the two came to blows. Armstrong was hurled to P19 as a result and Shwartzman was handed a time penalty, which saw him finish in third. A killer blow for the PREMA Racing team.
“We had a fair fight. I didn't do anything particularly different,” Shwartzman asserted. “I was just fighting and defending like I should. It's just normal fighting like everyone else. If I was fighting with someone else it would be the same, I would try to defend, protect and try to gain positions if I have the chance.”
As long as it’s fair racing, it’s fair game. The young Russian’s view on the situation was refreshing and promises plenty more battles between the three teammates during the year.
Despite this viewpoint, that doesn’t mean that Shwartzman didn’t feel any remorse for the part that he played in the collision. “It always feels really bad when you make contact generally, but with a teammate it's even worse because we have respect for each other,” he admitted. “You don't want situations like that to come up. Unfortunately, it happened and I can't say much more than that.
“We had some nice, close fighting with Marcus Armstrong. That was nice. We generally had really good pace for the whole race, but unfortunately there was an incident on the last lap.
“I’m really sorry for Marcus for not finishing and for my penalty as well. I couldn't do anything in that situation. When you have no control in the car it's something where you just hope for the best and that's all.”
The Russian may have missed out on a third win of the campaign in Austria, but still retains the Championship lead, with a points’ haul of 90, eight ahead of teammate Jehan Daruvala.
Attention has now switched to Silverstone later this month, where he is targeting another victory. “My target as I say every weekend is to win and be the quickest, and to bring home as good a result as possible,” he continued. “The target for Silverstone is to win, obviously, and to be the quickest. I just need to prepare and I'm quite sure we're going to be there.
“On the whole, this weekend was not too bad. We had quite a good recovery from qualifying, took some points, and I think now we just need to settle down a little bit, think about the next race and prepare for Silverstone.”