Monza F3: Shwartzman wins, Peroni in horror crash
FIA Formula 3 points leader Robert Shwartzman beat fellow Ferrari Formula 1 junior Marcus Armstrong to victory after a huge airborne crash for Alex Peroni.
Having been promoted to second on the grid amid a flurry of grid penalties, reigning German F4 champion Lirim Zendeli claimed the lead from the start, but he was clipped from behind by pole-sitter Christian Lundgaard on lap three of 22 and picked up a puncture.
ART driver Lundgaard had to pit with a broken wing and raced back to 15th, while Sauber Junior Team man Zendeli was unable to return to the pits and retired.
That allowed seventh-place starter Armstrong to work his way into the lead after some aggressive overtaking moves, but with six laps to go, SMP Racing-backed driver Shwartzman attacked Armstrong and made his move to take the lead.
Their battle was short-lived however as Peroni’s crash brought out the safety car on lap 19.
Peroni hit a curb in the asphalt run-off at the exit of the Parabolica and his Campos-run machine was launched high into the air before landing upside-down on the barriers.
The Australian walked to the medical car unaided despite the enormous accident, but is set to be taken to hospital for further checks.
Jehan Daruvala made it a 1-2-3 for Prema at its home race, meaning Shwartzman now holds a 35-point lead in the drivers’ championship over Daruvala with three races remaining.
A 49-point lead for the Russian after Sunday's sprint race would be enough to seal the title with a full round to spare.
Red Bull and Honda junior Yuki Tsunoda recovered from going straight on at the Roggia chicane on lap one to take fourth for Jenzer Motorsport, ahead of third-place starter Richard Verschoor, who appeared to be struggling for top speed in his MP Motorsport car.
Trident’s Pedro Piquet took sixth while Jake Hughes (HWA) drove from 18th to seventh, promoted one place by Peroni’s crash.
MP Motorsport’s Liam Lawson delivered eighth, the Red Bull junior securing the reversed-grid pole, ahead of Sauber Junior Team driver Fabio Scherer and Carlin’s Logan Sargeant.
It was another nightmare weekend for Red Bull junior Juri Vips, who qualified way down the order and couldn’t avoid HWA driver Keyvan Andres under braking for the Roggia chicane.
Vips hit Andres in the rear-right at speed, the contact breaking Vips’ front-left wheel loose from his car and causing the first safety car period.
UPDATE: Armstrong was penalised after the race for having "exceeded the minimum delta time" during the safety car period, according to a stewards' statement.
The New Zealander has been handed a 20-second time penalty, dropping him to 21st while promoting Daruvala to second and Tsunoda to third. It also means Shwartzman's points advantage over Daruvala is cut from 35 to 32.
Monza F3 grid reshuffled by grid penalties
Peroni suffers fractured vertebra in airborne crash