Armstrong using Mick Schumacher’s European F3 title comeback as motivation to ‘never give up’

It was a good day for Prema on Saturday, with Dennis Hauger’s maiden Formula 2 win and a 1-2 for the team in the Sprint Race in Monaco. Jehan Daruvala and Hitech’s Marcus Armstrong joined the Norwegian on the podium. After the race, F1 Feeder Series and selected media spoke to Daruvala and Armstrong about their seasons so far.

by Tyler Foster

In a fairly tepid race, the major highlights came at the start, with pole-sitter Jake Hughes stalling his car at the start and gifting the chance of victory to Hauger. With Hughes out of the way, Hauger and Daruvala headed the field for the entire race. The Prema duo never looked like battling, and the race was a procession for the majority of the laps.

Nevertheless, this victory was Prema’s first of the season, marking a turn in performance after a challenging start by their own standards.

For the Feature Race on Sunday, Daruvala will now start one place ahead of teammate Hauger. “I’m not here for him and he’s not here for me,” the Indian driver said about their rivalry on track. “But we race in the same team, so we’ve got to respect [each other]. Apart from that we’re trying to win our own race.”

Daruvala’s Feature Race misfortune

After his fourth podium of the year, Daruvala is currently third in the standings, 39 points behind leader Felipe Drugovich. The Prema driver opened up about his misfortune in Feature Races and what his goals are for the remainder of the season.

“To be honest, I think this year we’ve been pretty consistently fast. We’ve just been quite unlucky in a lot of the Feature Races, to be honest. In Bahrain, we had the pace for the podium, but I had an incident. In Jeddah, I started 15th and I came on the podium. Again in Imola in the Feature Race, I was on the wrong strategy, and in Barcelona my car failed.

“So I would say I’ve been quite unlucky so far in the Feature Races, but we’ve still been now on the podium in four of the five rounds. I’ve been consistent, but there’s still more in there. We need to score bigger points on Sunday, and I’m sure it’ll come. We’ve been getting quicker and quicker in qualifying, and the championship’s really long so I’m not really looking at it. I think we can be up there and fight for the championship at the end of the year.”

Armstrong determined to keep fighting

Meanwhile, Armstrong, another third-year Formula 2 driver, finished on the podium for the second time this year. Armstrong has quietly yet consistently picked up points and now sits fourth in the standings, just seven points behind Daruvala.

Armstrong has taken his chances in the opening rounds and is currently ahead of his teammate, rapid Red Bull junior Jüri Vips. He made it clear that his aim was to challenge for the title when we exclusively interviewed him before the start of the season. While he is currently fourth, he has a sizeable gap of 46 points to Drugovich.

Armstrong gave an insight into his mental approach fighting for the title while coming from behind by referencing a story about a certain current Formula 1 driver who was once his teammate in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.

“I remember back in 2018, when we were doing Formula 3, and at the halfway point Mick Schumacher was P13 or something like that. Everyone, including his engineer, said that the season’s basically over – everyone apart from Mick. And would you know it, he came back and won.

“I never believe the championship is over, and like you said, we’ve been taking points consistently in the Sprint Races. The championship is going to be won by winning Feature Races and qualifying on pole, so that we need to nail. But the season’s long, and the thing I can take from 2018 is never give up.”

For the Feature Race on Sunday, Armstrong starts seventh, directly ahead of the Prema duo, with Daruvala in eighth and Hauger in ninth. Meanwhile, championship leader Drugovich starts on pole, with last year’s winner Théo Pourchaire alongside the Brazilian on the front row.

Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

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