F2: Ferrari protege Schumacher takes an impressive feature race victory at Sochi

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Russia, Sochi International Street Circuitru

Ferrari junior driver Mick Schumacher stormed to his second F2 victory in 2020 in the Sochi feature race. His title rivals Yuki Tsunoda and Callum Ilott completed the podium.

Starting from the third spot, Mick Schumacher had a great getaway from the line, gaining a place to move up to second. Pole-sitter Yuki Tsunoda was just able to hold on to the lead into Turn 2.

While the frontrunner had a relatively clean start, there was contact at the back. The incident involved Christian Lungaard who was forced to retire from the feature race. The Renault-backed Dane showed supreme pace at Mugello two weeks ago, winning the sprint race in a dominant manner, bringing himself into title contention. However, today's result was a huge blow to his title aspirations.

On lap 7, Red Bull driver Jehan Daruvala pitted and retuned in 16th position on fresh tyres. The next lap saw a bunch of drivers visit the pit lane, including Tsunoda, Schumacher, Robert Shwartzman Callum Ilott, Luca Ghiotto and Giuliano Alesi. The Prema team completed a double pit stop with Schumacher and Shwartzman, but that turned into a nightmare for the home hero as the Russian lost over ten seconds due to problems with his right rear tyre.

With the leaders having pitted, Jack Aitken inherited the race lead. Guanyu Zhou closed in on the Briton and the pair began a fierce battle for the lead. The Chinese attempted multiple overtaking manoeuvres, but was unable to jump to the front. While they were fighting, Nikita Mazepin caught them. Using the intense fight between the leading duo, the Russian screamed past Zhou to move up to 2nd place.

AItken pitted from the lead for new tyres on lap 17 which gave the lead to Mazepin. The next lap saw Mazepin, Zhou, Armstrong and Ticktum visit the pit for fresh supersoft tyres.

In the meantime, Schumacher closed in on Tsunoda and flew past the Japanese driver with a brilliant overtaking manoeuvre into Turn 2. Ilott also passed the Red Bull-backed driver, leaving the first two drivers in the Standings in the leading positions.

Schumacher managed the gap to Ilott perfectly until the Briton encountered tyre problems. Tsunoda fought his way back and repassed Ilott for the second place. Luca Ghiotto also closed in on the Briton, and finish only 0.05s behind.

Following his second feature race win in the season, Schumacher disclosed that there was some drama during his first stint when he needed to make a last minute decision regarding the timing of the pit stop.

“I am very happy with today’s race. I think that we maximised what we had. The supersoft stint was a bit of a mess, especially the pit phase as I wanted to do another lap, but in the last sector I felt my rears going. I saw everybody else going in as well, so I opted to pit. It was a bit messy, but in general I think we managed it pretty well.

Schumacher extended his lead in the Drivers' Championship, sitting on 186 points. Ilott is second with 168, ahead of Lundgaard and Tsunoda who are tied on 145. Shwartzman has dropped to fifth with 140 points.

“On the medium tyre, we managed it pretty well, we were always in contention and we stayed with Yuki, having a gap of around two, two-and-a-half seconds. With the traffic out there, we kind of all bunched together, but I managed to get the move done and I just had to manage the race from there. 25 points is always good and that’s another win for this year, so I am pretty happy," said the German.