Marcus Armstrong will be glad to bid au revoir to Silverstone after the 20-year-old capped off his third successive non-points finish weekend with the Kiwi claiming a forlorn pair of 14ths across both FIA Formula 2 races at the British venue.
Armstrong has struggled for pace at both legs of the British Grand Prix, finishing a best of tenth in last weekend’s sprint race with similar performance issues this time out all while his ART teammate Christian Lundgaard was constantly battling among the front runners.
Rising British superstar Callum Ilott has claimed the lead of the championship after a dominant victory in the weekend’s opening feature race before backing it up with a sixth-place finish in the sprint race.
It would be the sprint race which yielded the most entertaining drama after leading pair Robert Shwartzman and Mick Schumacher collided at Turn 6 only a handful of laps from the chequered flag which gifted the victory to Toyota Racing Series alumni Yuki Tsunoda.
Race control deemed the clash a racing incident though Schumacher was vividly upset with his cause in the crash which put an end to Shwartzman’s race and saw a certain 1-2 finish for Prema slip from the team’s grasp.
Like last weekend Armstrong’s Achilles heel seemed to be adapting to the hard compound tyres brought to the circuit to counter high rates of degradation. Strong starts by the Kiwi in both races ensured he always finished above his qualifying position but he quickly hit a blockade in performance as he languished a fair way down on his teammate and the race leaders.
After two early season podiums, Armstrong has failed to score a point since the final race of the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring and has fallen to 11th in the championship.
Lundgaard meanwhile, suffered a late tyre blowout in today’s final sprint race while running inside the points. The Danish racer still sits second in the standings 21-points behind Ilott.
The next round on the F2 calendar is the Spanish Grand Prix from Barcelona in the third high-tyre load circuit in a row following Hungary and Britain. Thus, it could well be another difficult weekend for Armstrong if himself and ART cannot solve the ongoing tyre issues which has undoubtedly hindered his performance of late.
The Kiwi scored a podium at the circuit last year in his sole season in F3 but has yet to get a taste for the track in an F2 machine nor on the 18-inch wheels which has divided the paddock in terms of support for and against the less durable and more demanding rubber. The new sized rims will be implemented into F1 in 2022.
Feature Race results:
Sprint race results:
|Ret||Christian Lundgaard||+1 lap|