With the dust settled at the end of another enthralling FIA Formula 3 race weekend, at Monza in Italy, we take a look at five talking points from the track.
Celebrating in style
Scours thesaurus in search of more superlatives
Not much can be said of PREMA Racing that hasn’t already. The Italian team stepped up to a brand new championship and completely dominated it, winning the title with two rounds to spare. They marked this with a haul of 46 points, two podium places, and a race win from Robert Shwartzman. Just your average weekend then?
Yes, other teams have caught up since they won four from four at the start of the year, but all three drivers have been consistently amongst the points and the top positions, something no other side can boast.
The final stretch
It seems inconceivable to think that the Championship leader hadn’t won since Round 2, in Le Castellet, but that was the case going into Round 7, at Monza. Following his stellar start, the Russian’s title charge has been based on consistency. The PREMA ace has finished in the points in every single race that he has completed, suffering a DNF just once in Spa Race 1 - eight of those points’ finishes have been on the podium.
In Monza, he finally added that third elusive victory to his tally, and in explosive fashion. Starting from tenth, following a post-Qualifying penalty, the Russian quickly arrowed in on the top 2, before soaring past his teammate Marcus Armstrong for 1st
With one round remaining, Shwartzman is in the driving seat for the title, with a 33-point gap and the opportunity to seal the Championship in front of a home crowd, at Sochi.
Yuki Tsunoda and Jenzer Motorsport could have sparked a Talking Points article in their own right, with both driver and team earning their first victory in the series.
Race 2 in Monza completed a remarkable turnaround for Tsunoda, one of the Championship’s less experienced racers. The Japanese driver mastered the ‘temple of speed’ with an exemplary drive from sixth to first - made even more impressive by his admission that he’d never previously driven at the track.
The Red Bull junior was a slow starter in Formula 3, taking his time to adjust and get to grips with the new machinery, but he is now one of the Championship’s in-form drivers, with seven consecutive points’ finishes and three podiums in a row, including Sunday’s victory.
His lap-long battle with the experienced Jake Hughes was magnificent and truly sensational racing, which had fans on the edge of their seats. While his win marked a successful weekend for Honda Dream drivers, as his F2 counterpart Nobuharu Matsushita took the win in the F2 Feature Race.
Tsunoda’s Race 2 victory means that six of the ten F3 teams have now won races in the Championship, proving once again the competitiveness of the Championship and the opportunities that drivers have throughout the field.
To have 60% of the teams winning, with a round to spare, adds up to plenty of excitement and a lot of new faces at the top of the podium.
Richard Verschoor’s weekend went relatively under the radar, but, following seven consecutive pointless finishes, he enjoyed his most successful round to date in the Formula 3 Championship.
Finishing just shy of the podium in both Race 1 and Race 2, the MP Motorsport man grabbed fourth in both races, and went extremely close to grabbing his first silverware of the campaign.
It was a solid and consistent weekend and he’ll be hoping for more of the same in Russia.