The Russian fought his way up from 11th on the grid to take his second win of the season. Mick Schumacher third after an attacking race.
After yesterday’s qualifying at the Hungaroring, held in the wet, Robert Shwartzman was not that hopeful of doing well in the first race of the third round of the FIA Formula 2 championship. The red flags ended the session four minutes early, at which point he was only 11th. Twenty-four hours later, the 20-year old Russian Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) student took the chequered flag for his second win of the season, thus consolidating his championship lead.
Perfect start and strategy. A great fightback and a well planned strategy played crucial roles. “I knew the start would be important and after six laps I was fourth,” said Shwartzman. “Along with my Prema engineers, we had decided to go for something different, starting on the hard tyres rather than the softs, like those ahead of me. I hoped it would work, but I didn’t really think I could win. I went for a very long first stint and, after the pit stop, I rejoined fourth and I knew I had the quicker tyres. I made a mistake at the first corner but that didn’t stop working my through to take the lead. Only in the last few laps, I had a bit of vibration, but there wasn’t far to go to the chequered flag and it all went fine.”
Mick. Mick Schumacher also gave the FDA cause to celebrate, finishing third in what was a tough race for him. The 21-year old German and Shwartzman’s team-mate was the highest placed driver to have started on the softs. After pitting on lap 11, Schumacher took the lead eight laps later, moving ahead of Callum Ilott. “After the pit stop, it wasn’t easy to get the tyres up to temperature, but after a few laps, I got into a good rhythm and could pass those ahead of me. Once in the lead, I tried to manage the tyres, but when Shwartzman and Nikita Mazepin came up behind me, running the softs, I was powerless to defend. It was important to finish in a podium position and I think I gave it everything and this was a significant result for me and the team.” After the race, Scuderia Ferrari team principal Matteo Binotto was on hand to applaud the FDA guys from beneath the podium.
A tough afternoon. Callum Ilott (UNI-Virtuosi Racing) had a tough time of it, having started from pole. The Englishman suffered from bad tyre degradation but kept the lead to half distance, but then his pace dropped off. He finished eighth, still a good result which sees him start from pole again in tomorrow’s sprint race. Giuliano Alesi (HWA Racelab) finished 11th, while Marcus Armstrong (ART Grand Prix) had to retire after colliding with Artem Markelov after the start, having damaged his front left suspension.
Classification. After five races, Shwartzman leads the series on 73 points, from Ilott on 51. Armstrong is fifth with 34, while Schumacher is up to seventh on 29. Alesi is 14th on 8 points. The Sprint Race starts tomorrow at 11.10 CET.