Not exactly a weekend to remember for the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) drivers, in the first of this back to back pair of Formula 2 events at Silverstone. Only Callum Ilott and Mick Schumacher picked up points, while series leader Robert Shwartzman, who still heads the classification from Ilott, and fellow students Marcus Armstrong and Giuliano Alesi failed to score.
Callum. Ilott had an unlucky time of it. He qualified second for the Feature Race but ended up starting from pit lane as a technical problem left him stranded on the grid at the start of the formation lap. Callum rolled up his sleeves and fought his way back, while perfectly managing the tyres. He switched from Medium to Hard on lap 7 and made up several places managing to avoid the tyre degradation which affected a lot of his rivals. His reward was a fine fifth place. That put him on the second row for the Sprint Race. The UNI-Virtuosi Racing driver did not get the best of starts and at Turn 3, he collided with Team Carlin’s Yuki Tsunoda, which put the Japanese driver out of the race. Callum was given a 5 second time penalty to his final time. He went on the attack and got as high as second. Unfortunately, with five laps remaining, he lost control of the car and had to retire.
Mick. After a great qualifying to start from third place, Schumacher drove brilliantly on Saturday, making a lightning start to jump into the lead. Mick stayed in contention for a podium place for two thirds of the race, but heavy tyre degradation saw him drop progressively down the order to ninth place. In the Sprint Race, the German was fighting for points up to the last lap, when he and his Prema team opted for a tyre change during a Safety Car period to try and finish the race in attack mode. Mick crossed the line in 14th place.
Robert. Shwartzman had a weekend to forget in Silverstone, although he keeps the lead in the championship classification. The Prema team’s Russian driver was unlucky in qualifying, encountering traffic on his flying lap which meant he had to settle for 18th fastest time. And there were more difficulties in the race. “I found myself having to fight the car. I had expected it to be more stable and the tyres to last longer.” 14th in the Feature Race and a 13th in the second one certainly was not what was expected going into the weekend, but now it’s time to analyse the data and prepare for next weekend.
Marcus and Giuliano. These two FDA students also had a complicated time of it. Armstrong and the ART Grand Prix team struggled in qualifying and in the race on Saturday he finished 16th having dropped a few places. On Sunday he staged a good fight back which saw him make up six places to finish tenth, not so far from the points, in the Sprint Race. Alesi started from 20th place in the Feature Race and finished 19th, while on Sunday he was 18th on the HWA Racelab car. Next weekend it’s time for a second round at Silverstone.