Ferrari Driver Academy junior Robert Shwartzman stormed to victory in the F2 sprint race at Spa ahead of his team mate Mick Schumacher with the pair securing a one-two for the Italian Prema outfit.
Nobuharu Matshushita was unable to start the race after his team MP Motorsport could not repair his car that sustained serious damage in yesterday’s feature race when his team mate Felipe Drugovich clipped the back of his car, sending the Japanese into the tyre barriers at the Blanchimont corner.
At the start, Daniel Ticktum jumped to the front, defeating pole-sitter Roy Nissany. However, the French-Israeli quickly retook the lead on the Kemmel straight. In the meantime, yesterday’s race winner Yuki Tsunoda tagged the back end of championship leader Callum Ilott’s car, sending the Briton into a spin.
Ilott’s race ended at Turn 7 with heavy damages to his car. Safety car was deployed to clear the debris.
At the end of Lap 3, the safety car dived into the pit. Using the tow, Ticktum overtook Nissany into Turn 5, but he ran over the kerbs following a small touch from the French-Isreali driver. When the London-born rejoined the track, he made contact with Nissany who crashed into the barriers. Another safety car period followed.
On lap 6, drivers were released again with new race leader Robert Shwartzman setting blidingly quick times to check out. His team mate Mick Schumacher passed Luca Ghiotto and started to put pressure on Nikita Mazepin.
The Ferrari junior Russian driver set a blindingly quick lap time of 2m01.124. While he was driving away from the rest of the pack, Louis Deletraz overtook Ticktum who struggled with damage to his car, but he could repass the Swiss driver on the Kemmel straight.
On Lap 9, Schumacher overtook Guanyu Zhou to jump to third. The German also overtook Ticktum when the Briton locked up at the bus stop chicane, flat-spotting his tyres.
With five laps to go, Zhou also managed to go by Ticktum to take third place.
At the front, Shwartzman showed incredible pace, nursing his tyres perfectly to take his third victory of the season. The Russian jumped to the front of the Drivers’ Championship with 132 points, 10 points clear of Callum Ilott. Tsunoda is third in the Standings while Schumacher improved to fourth with 106 points.
On the back of dismal results in the four races at Silverstone, Shwartzman came back to take second place in the feature race at Barcelona two weeks ago. At Spa, the Russian returned to top form by securing a fifth-place result yesterday and winning today’s sprint race in commanding fashion.
“I have finally gotten back to first place - it had been a while since Hungary. I am really happy, and I want to say a big thank you to the team. They did a really great job and the car has been good all weekend. Yesterday, I made a mistake which influenced our result a bit.
While Nissany and Ticktum battled hard at the front, the defending F3 champion, „was a bit cautious with them. They crashed and collided, and I used that opportunity to get past them. After that, I just kept up my pace and I am really happy to have the win and the fastest lap as well.”
After climbing out of his Prema F2 car, Shwartzman pointed to the sky, thinking of Anthoine Hubert.