The Russian Ferrari Driver Academy student, Robert Shwartman has finished second in this year’s Formula 2 championship, securing his eighth podium finish of the season in Abu Dhabi. As for Marcus Armstrong, he was out of luck, having to retire with a technical problem in the second race of the weekend, when he was in the lead.
The 2021 Formula 2 season ended today in Abu Dhabi. Robert Shwartzman secured the runner-up spot, picking up 30 points over the weekend with one second place and two top ten finishes. He finished 9 points clear of third placed Guanyu Zhou. Marcus Armstrong’s weekend did not go so well, as he had to retire from a comfortable lead in Race 2 with a technical problem. There was some consolation for the New Zealander as he finished in the points in the other two races. He is 13th in the championship.
Sprint Race 1. Having qualified fourth, Shwartzman therefore started the first race of the weekend from seventh, with Armstrong in 11th spot. When the lights went out, Robert immediately moved up to fifth, while Marcus squeezed into tenth, avoiding the usual first corner chaos. On lap 4, Shwartzman passed Dan Ticktum and then also dealt with Liam Lawson on lap 10. Now third, he focussed on tyre management, but with three laps to go he was passed by team-mate Oscar Piastri at Turn 6. At the flag, Shwartzman was fourth, thus picking up plenty of points. “We got a good start and in the early stages, the car was very competitive,” he said. “My strategy was aimed at not stressing the tyres too much but with five laps to go I made a slight but crucial mistake under braking and that let Oscar pass me. Towards the end, the tyre picked up grip again but by then the race was done.” Armstrong had a straightforward race, tenth from just after the start all the way to the chequered flag, but importantly, it meant Marcus picked up a point and would start the second race from pole.
Sprint Race 2. Armstrong kept the lead at the start while Shwartzman, who had started seventh, moved up to fifth on the opening lap. The Safety Car was required almost immediately on two separate occasions and the race resumed on lap 11, but Armstrong’s race ended at the first corner, with a very disappointing engine problem that meant he had to park the car at the side of the track, when he had been leacding. Shwartzman moved further up the order, taking second place on lap 12 and staying there to the chequered flag.
Feature Race. The cars lined up on the grid as per their qualifying positions for the final race of the Abu Dhabi weekend and indeed of the season, with Shwartzman fourth and Armstrong 11th. When a car ended up in the barrier, the Safety Car came out and after that, Robert was up to third while Marcus made up two places to be ninth. Having started on the soft tyres, Shwartzman pitted on lap eight, behind Piastri and Zhou. Armstrong had started on harder tyres and was running in third place before making his stop on lap 24. Back on track, Marcus passed Ralph Boschung and Liam Lawson to go seventh, while, in the final two laps, Shwartzman after that early stop, paid the price and had to give best to Felipe Drugovic and Theo Pourchaire, who were on fresher tyres. But fifth place at the flag was still important for Robert as the ten points meant he finished second in this year’s championship.