F3: Shwartzman wins season opener after Lundgaard penalised

Robert Shwartzman has taken an early lead in the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship. © LAT Images.

Robert Shwartzman made history with victory in the inaugural FIA Formula 3 race at Barcelona from pole position.

The PREMA driver had crossed the line second behind ART’s Christian Lundgaard, but a five-second penalty after the race gave Shwartzman the race one victory.

Barcelona’s lengthy run to turn one gave Marcus Armstrong a fantastic opportunity at the start, but he was unable to move past Shwartzman into the first corner.

Lundgaard took advantage of this battle to take the lead around the outside of turn two.

It was a fantastic first lap for ART, with David Beckmann and Max Fewtrell also improving on their grid positions.

The two front-runners traded fastest laps early on as they pulled away from the action-packed midfield battles.

Jehan Daruvala and Juri Vips took advantage of the unrestricted DRS to move past Logan Sargeant into sixth and seventh.

Sargeant would struggle throughout the race, eventually dropping to fifteenth position.

Vips tried to overtake Daruvala a lap later, but the Estonian outbraked himself into turn one.

This gave Daruvala a short respite, however Vips quickly recovered to take sixth position.

Trident’s Pedro Piquet was another driver to make a mistake, with the Brazilian spinning at turn 10.

The race’s crucial moment came on lap 15, as Alessio Deledda lost control of his Campos at turn 9.

This left the Italian beached in the gravel, and a virtual safety car was necessary.

The track was cleared with five laps remaining, and Lungaard was able to maintain his lead to cross the line in first.

The Dane’s joy would be short lived as a five-second penalty for speeding under the VSC ended gave Ferrari junior Shwartzman the victory.

Armstrong made it two drivers on the podium for PREMA in third, with Beckmann and Fewtrell completing the top five.

Daruvala attempted a last-lap lunge but had to settle for sixth position behind Vips.

Niko Kari rounded out the top eight, giving the Finn pole position for race two on Sunday morning.