Robert Shwartzman (Prema) was the star of the Bahrain Formula 2 Sprint Race today. Having started from pole, the 21-year-old Ferrari Driver Academy driver led all 23 laps, crossing the line with a comfortable lead over fellow Russian Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix). This was Shwartzman’s fourth win, the most for any driver this season. He picked up 15 points, which moves him up to fourth in the classification with just one round – two races – to go, both of them again at the Sakhir circuit but on the high speed Outer track layout.
Four in title fight. “It wasn’t an easy race,” said Shwartzman. “I concentrated a lot on tyre management and in the various stages of the race I was always able to maintain a safe gap over those behind me. I am particularly happy because this win came at the end of a weekend that started with problems in qualifying and so it is even more satisfying. I want to thank the team for all the work we managed to do together. The title? Mathematically, there’s still a glimmer of hope. We will see.” After this race, Mick Schumacher (Prema) still leads on 205 points, having finished seventh today. The German leads Callum Ilott by 14 points, Mazepin by 43 and Shwartzman by 46, with 48 still up for grabs. Worth noting that of the four drivers still in with a chance, three of them are FDA members.
The race. Shwartzman went into the lead at the start ahead of FDA colleague Marcus Armstrong (ART Grand Prix), with Schumacher still fifth and his title rival Ilott (UNI-Virtuosi Racing) immediately on his tail. On lap six, going into turn 10, Jehan Daruvala (Carlin) and Mick braked late, locking their front wheels. They still made it through the corner, but behind them, Callum was caught out and in his efforts not to hit Mick, he ran into the back of Daruvala. Ilott was given a drive-through penalty and also had to pit for a new front wing, which dropped the Englishman down to 16th place, which is where he finished.
Balance compromised. The incident left Schumacher with flat-spotted tyres, but he dug deep and still managed to bring the Prema car home in seventh place, despite the balance being compromised, increasing his lead over Ilott by two points, the Englishman still very much in the title hunt.
Marcus and Giuliano. Marcus Armstrong also had a good race to finish fourth. The New Zealander was second for a long time, but in the end he missed out on the podium, having to give best to Louis Deletraz (Charouz Racing), the Swiss charging back on fresher tyres having pitted during the Safety Car period following the incident between Callum and Daruvala. Giuliano Alesi (MP Motorsport) finished 13th, the best he could do after starting from 17th on the grid.