Drugovich wins, Ilott closes in on Schumacher in the title fight

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The MP Motorsport rookie Felipe Drugovich took his third win of the season in Sakhir, finishing 14.8s ahead of Callum Ilott. Championship leader Mick Schumacher finished the Bahrain feature race in P4.

Starting from the first row, Felipe Drugovich took over the lead after pole-sitter Callum Ilott struggled off the line. Championship leader Mick Schumacher was on a charge at the start as he flew up the order from P10 to P4.

On lap 6, Ilott started to complain about his medium tyres which seemed to degrade faster than expected. On the same lap, Markus Armstrong closed in on the Briton and went past him, sending Ilott down to third. The next lap saw Schumacher attack and overtake his main championship rival, improving to P3.

The Kiwi made an error on the next lap, locking up into Turn 11. The German managed to make use of the error of his rival and improved to P2.

On lap 9, Robert Shwartzamn became the first driver to dive into the pits for new tyres. The Ferrari-backed Russian received fresh hard tyres, getting rid of his worn medium compound. He immediately lit up the timing screen and posted the fastest lap of the race.

Despite being on the hard compound, Dan Ticktum began to complain about heavy tyre degradation. Ilott decided to box on lap 11 to take fresh boots. Drugovich pitted three laps later. Although he came out ahead of Ilott, he locked up which handed Ilott the chance to attack the previous race leader.

Fighting for the championship, Ilott did not needa second invitation and pounced through Turn 10 to overtake Drugovich. Schumacher and Tsunoda were the last to pit with the pair boxing on lap 19. When the German rejoined the track, he was in the sixth position. In the meantime, Drugovich passed Ilott, using the better grip of his slightly fresher tyres.

After overtaking his team mate Shwartzman, Schumacher passed Armstrong on Lap 23. Nikita Mazepin was also on a charge, passing his countryman Shwartzamn, moving into P6.

Tsunoda, who started from the back of the grid, began to seize up his rivals, improving to P7 by Lap 29. The Honda-backed Japanese driver passed Armstrong for P6 on the last lap.

Schumacher meanwhile closed in on Jehan Daruvala, but the German was unable to get past the Indian driver despite launching multiple attacks. At the front, Drugovich comfortably closed out the victory, with Ilott taking second and Daruvala holding on to third.

“An amazing race. That is my first Feature Race win and it feels unbelievable. We got a good start and I got by Callum (Ilott) at Turn 1. The job was a bit easier after that because I got clean air out in front. The pit stop went well and from there it was about keeping the pace. We were really fast, so a big thanks to the team,” said the Brazilian.

Schumacher remains at the top of the Drivers’ Championship with 203 points, 12 ahead of Ilott on 191. Tsunoda is third with 157, ahead of Mazepin in fourth on 150 and Christian Lundgaard in fifth, with 145.

In the Teams’ Championship, PREMA are first with 347 points, ahead of UNI-Virtuosi on 310.5 and Hitech Grand Prix on 254. Carlin are fourth with 208 and ART Grand Prix fifth on 189.