Shwartzman nets maiden F2 victory for Prema with Schumacher 4th

Reigning FIA Formula 3 champion Robert Shwartzman proved that the step up to F2 is no big deal as the Prema driver drove an outstanding race to win the feature race at the Red Bull Ring.

Shwartzman started from sixth on the grid but carved his way through the field before benefitting from radio transmission problems that hampered Carlin’s Yuki Tsunoda, the Japanese unable to hear team messages before eventually seeing the pit board to change tyres, albeit too late.

It meant that Shwartzman, who came close to winning in Austria last weekend but for an unfortunate technical issue, closed up on the UNI-Virtuosi of Guanyu Zhou, passing the Chinese driver on the exit of Turn 4.

From then on, in treacherous conditions, it became a case of course management for the level-headed Russian. And despite Tsunoda passing Zhou with a handful of laps to go and narrowing the gap to Shwartzman to almost a second, it was the Prema driver who held out for the race win and the team’s first feature race win since 2018.

“I am super happy to finish first, and I couldn’t have expected that result from the start. The beginning was really tough, and I had some issues with the car after the restart,” said Shwartzman. “We exited behind Zhou and he was really fast, but he started to lose grip and we had an interesting fight. I got passed him and took the provisional leading position, but my engineer told me that Yuki was really quick, so I couldn’t rest or relax.

“I saw him coming and the last give laps were really intense, because I started to lose the rear grip. Thankfully, Yuki was struggling a bit by then too, which saved me,” added the Russian. “I am really happy and really thankful to everyone who was watching and all of my fans. Also, to my team, SMP Racing and the FDA, but the biggest thanks goes to my dad, who was watching me from up there, so I hope that he is happy.”

It was very nearly a double podium finish for Prema, the charging Mick Schumacher all over the back of Zhou’s gearbox by the chequered flag, Callum Ilott, Christian Lundgaard and Marcus Armstrong in close pursuit.

DAMS driver Dan Ticktum, who also acts as test and reserve driver for Williams Racing, was next but will have the advantage of starting Sunday’s sprint race from pole position after his eighth-place finish. Jack Aitken and Ticktum’s teammate Sean Gelael rounded out the top ten.

Motorsport Technology