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Armstrong beats out Hitech duo on the final day of pre-season testing in Sakhir

Boschung topped the final afternoon of pre-season testing

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By Olivier Ferret

10 March 2021 - 15:51
Armstrong beats out Hitech duo on (...)

DAMS’ Marcus Armstrong continued his strong run in pre-season testing, following up his third-place finish on Day 2 with top spot on the final day of testing in Sakhir. The Ferrari junior’s tour of 1:42.173 was enough to beat out Hitech and Red Bull Academy pairing Liam Lawson and Jüri Vips.

Despite Armstrong’s strong showing on Day 3, ART Grand Prix’s Christian Lundgaard finished pre-season testing as the quickest man overall with a tour of 1:41.697 on Tuesday morning.

MORNING

The field weren’t wasting any time on the final morning of testing. Chucking on their last set of fresh Pirelli boots, almost everyone headed out onto the track at the first opportunity. Hitech Grand Prix’s Vips set the strongest of the first set of fast laps, lapping the Sakhir circuit in 1:42.224.

The Estonian didn’t spend long at the top of the leaderboard, as he was swiftly bettered by his Hitech and Red Bull Academy teammate Lawson, the Kiwi going faster by the finest of margins: just 0.006s.

The pair ended the session in second and third as their former Formula 3 rival Armstrong continued his solid start to life with DAMS, lapping faster than them both with a time of 1:42.173.

UNI-Virtuosi’s Guanyu Zhou just missed out on a spot in the top three, falling one hundredth short of Vips’ best laptime, while MP Motorsport’s Lirim Zendeli was less than a tenth back himself in P5. Robert Shwarztman missed out on the top five by an even finer margin, lapping a mere 0.003s off Zendeli’s best time.

It was just as tight further down the field, with the top 17 separated by just one second at the end of the morning session. The gap between first and 10th was less than half a second, Virtuosi’s Felipe Drugovich finishing the afternoon with a best lap of 1:42.570.

Ralph Boschung, Richard Verschoor and Oscar Piastri were the other drivers to feature inside of the top 10, finishing seventh, eighth and ninth in the morning.

AFTERNOON

Having used up their final set of fresh tyres in the morning session, the afternoon was always going to be about longer-runs and gathering that final bit of data ahead of the new season. Just four drivers headed out onto the circuit when the lights went green, with Zendeli taking first place of the quartet.

The MP Motorsport racer held onto first as the remainder of the field fed out onto the track, with the majority of times around the 1m 48s mark, and Zendeli running at 1:47.305, which would end up being good enough for P4.

Testing with Campos, Boschung still had some energy to get rid of before departing Sakhir and darted round with a time of 1:44.905 to go first.

Little changed until the final hour, when PREMA’s Robert Shwarztman headed out for a series of long-runs and managed to leap up to second with a tour of 1:47.146. The Russian was bumped down to second by Gianluca Petecof in the final 15 minutes, as the Brazilian joined his Campos teammate in the top two with a lap of 1:45.537.

During his own stint of long-runs with PREMA, Piastri managed to make the top five himself, setting 1:47.306, just 0.001s off Zendeli.

Lawson and Pourchaire both sat second for short periods at the start of the afternoon before dropping down to seventh and eighth. Verschoor and Guilherme Samaia completed the top 10.

Armstrong and Lundgaard will looking to carry their solid pre-season into Round 1 of the campaign when action gets underway here in Sakhir in just over two weeks’ time.

Morning session:

1 Marcus Armstrong DAMS 1:42.173 22
2 Liam Lawson Hitech Grand Prix 1:42.218 13
3 Jüri Vips Hitech Grand Prix 1:42.224 36
4 Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi 1:42.246 47
5 Lirim Zendeli MP Motorsport 1:42.356 22
6 Robert Shwartzman PREMA Racing 1:42.359 20
7 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1:42.427 23
8 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 1:42.522 24
9 Oscar Piastri PREMA Racing 1:42.527 22
10 Felipe Drugovich UNI-Virtuosi 1:42.570 45
11 David Beckmann Charouz Racing System 1:42.587 48
12 Roy Nissany DAMS 1:42.590 25
13 Théo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 1:42.595 40
14 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 1:42.674 40
15 Bent Viscaal Trident 1:42.815 34
16 Marino Sato Trident 1:42.920 43
17 Matteo Nannini HWA RACELAB 1:43.159 31
18 Gianluca Petecof Campos Racing 1:43.219 24
19 Guilherme Samaia Charouz Racing System 1:43.283 47
20 Dan Ticktum Carlin 1:43.496 24
21 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 1:43.585 24
22 Alessio Deledda HWA RACELAB 1:45.076 36

Afternoon session:

1 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1:44.905 59
2 Gianluca Petecof Campos Racing 1:45.537 55
3 Roy Nissany DAMS 1:46.104 60
4 Robert Shwartzman PREMA Racing 1:47.146 53
5 Lirim Zendeli MP Motorsport 1:47.307 60
6 Oscar Piastri PREMA Racing 1:47.326 53
7 Liam Lawson Hitech Grand Prix 1:47.409 39
8 Théo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 1:47.426 42
9 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 1:47.598 57
10 Guilherme Samaia Charouz Racing System 1:47.698 43
11 Marcus Armstrong DAMS 1:47.891 61
12 Matteo Nannini HWA RACELAB 1:47.893 39
13 Dan Ticktum Carlin 1:47.965 64
14 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 1:48.128 61
15 Jüri Vips Hitech Grand Prix 1:48.332 39
16 Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi 1:48.446 50
17 Alessio Deledda HWA RACELAB 1:48.456 36
18 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 1:48.487 41
19 Felipe Drugovich UNI-Virtuosi 1:48.613 43
20 Bent Viscaal Trident 1:48.630 41
21 Marino Sato Trident 1:48.926 41
22 David Beckmann Charouz Racing System 1:50.048 33

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