Schumacher extends F2 championship lead after Sochi win and podium

Mick Schumacher extended his lead at the top of the F2 championship standings after leading home Yuki Tsunoda title rival Callum Ilott for a dominant feature race victory in Sochi. And the German backed up that performance with a fourth double podium of the season when he was running third in Sunday’s sprint before it was red flagged.

Ferrari academy driver Schumacher trailed Japan’s Tsunoda at the start of Saturday’s feature and still found himself behind the Carlin after their pit stops for medium tyres. But when Tsunoda was held up by Artem Markelov who was yet to stop, Schumacher closed the gap and made his move with a great pass out of Turn 2.

From that point on, Schumacher was able to control the race and take a comfortable 6-second victory from Tsonoda and Ilott, who was just able to hold off Luca Ghiotto on shot tyres. Jehan Daruvula was fifth in the second Carlin, ahead of Jack Aitken, Nikita Mazepin and Guanyu Zhou as Marcus Armstrong and Dan Ticktum rounded off the points finishers.

“I’m very happy with P1, we already had the speed in qualifying to do the job so I’m very happy that we managed to convert this into the race win,” Schumacher told Sky Sports’ Natalie Pinkham afterwards. “Definitely congratulations to the team to do a mega job to get the car out in style so thankyou to them.

“It has been quite empty the last few races and obviously having more fans is nice, so thankyou everyone for arriving here and supporting us so I hope they enjoyed the show. The hard work we have done with the team really pays off now. We’ve managed to be consistently fast at every track we go to, so that is very good and that basically is how you win championships, by being consistent, by getting those podiums, points and I would have been happy with P2 today as long as I stayed ahead of Callum.”

Sunday’s effort in the curtailed sprint was no less impressive as Schumacher rocketed fr0m eighth on the gried to fourth on the opening laps before making a brilliant move on Jack Aitken stick. It may hacve been better still for Schumacher had a huge accident between Aitken and Luca Ghiotto on the approach to Turn 3 on lap 7 not forced the race to be stopped, and half points awarded.

A second victory of the season for Schumacher means he extends his lead at the top of the championship standings to 26 points from Ilott with just four races remaining.

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.