The past two seasons have been anything but straightforward, but Marcus Armstrong was overjoyed to have finally taken his first victory in the opening FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race around the streets of Jeddah.
Starting on the front row, the DAMS driver made it clear before the race he was prepared to seize any opportunities available and that’s exactly what he did.
A lightning getaway saw him snatch the lead from pole-sitter Liam Lawson with a risky move at Turn 1, surprising himself in the process.
“I wasn’t expecting to outdo Liam [Lawson] the way I did, just due to the fact that the left-hand side of the track is quite dirty seeing as no other cars have ever raced here. It was very dirty, there wasn’t any rubber laid down.”
He added: “We were lucky not to make contact at Turn 1 because I’m sure he was on the limit of the grip under braking and I certainly was as well. Two Kiwis going wheel-to-wheel at Turn 1, it was getting dicey but it was cool.
The 2019 F3 Vice-Champion has had a challenging time in F2. Last season, he took two podiums with ART before moving to DAMS for 2021.
However, other than a second-place finish in the second Sprint Race at Silverstone, Armstrong has recorded points on only three previous occasions.
After taking the lead from the Hitech driver, Armstrong looked to be in full control, never shaken by chaos around him and dominated to take the win.
His long-awaited first victory has left the Kiwi feeling “over the world” and happy to be able to give his DAMS team something to smile about.
“It feels fantastic because it’s been sort of a tough 18 months in general, so to finally get a trophy, let alone a first place one, it feels good definitely.”
“Also, to see the smile on a lot of my engineers’ faces and my mechanics as well. It’s a great reward for a lot of work that hasn’t really been rewarded so far this season.”
Going racing again around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit this evening, Armstrong looked like a weight had been taken off his shoulders but that the win just shows he has the talent he knew he had.
“To be honest, I don’t think it’s going to change a lot in terms of my confidence because in my opinion I was always capable of doing it. It was just a matter of putting it all on the table and doing what we can do. ”
Image Credit: Formula Motorsport Limited