Robert Shwartzman clinched a maiden F2 victory in an entertaining wet Feature Race to snatch the lead of the championship from Callum Ilott.
Having struggled to get to grips with his car during an extended series of formation laps prior to a 50 minute red flag, Shwartzman fought back through the field to make a race winning switchback pass on Guanyu Zhou on lap 27.
The reigning F3 champion graduate then fended off a late charge from pole-sitter Yuki Tsunoda, who lost a maiden lights to flag win through a communication issue which saw him pit too late before charging back to finish in second.
Speaking post-race on his victory, Shwartzman was “super happy” and praised Prema’s “really great strategy”.
On nearly losing the win towards the end, the Russian said; “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.”
Zhou rounded out the podium after just edging out Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott, whilst Christian Lundgaard, Marcus Armstrong, Dan Ticktum, Jack Aitken and Sean Gelael completed the top ten in a reduced 36 lap race.Embed from Getty Images
Having been delayed a hour due to F1’s rain delay, the race began with five formation laps, which ultimately proved too wet as Ticktum’s car switched to safety mode with stewards forced to throw a 50 minute red flag until conditions improved.
Once underway after four laps behind safety car, Tsunoda sped away into a comfortable lead ahead of Zhou who stayed within 2s of the Japanese driver and briefly reduced the deficit when Tsunoda ran wide at turn three on lap 13.
Ilott kept in touch with the top two until Zhou pitted on lap 22 alongside Shwartzman, before pitting himself a lap later only to lose out to both drivers when rejoining the track.
Tsunoda meanwhile couldn’t hear his team’s instructions to pit at end of lap 23 and stayed out for three more laps before pitting, which saw him emerge back out in fourth, just as Shwartzman got the switchback on Zhou through turn four to snatch the lead.
Shwartzman then built up his lead whilst Tsunoda rapidly charged through to take Ilott and Zhou within three laps, before eventually failing to make a race winning pass to reclaim the lead against a stubborn Shwartzman in the closing stages.Embed from Getty Images
Further down the field, Lundgaard made excellent progress in the early stages as drivers struggled with treacherous conditions, as he rose to fourth before pitting but a mistake when trying to pass Ilott relegated him to a sixth placed finish.
Schumacher fought back from a tough first half of the race to reel in Zhou but just couldn’t find that late pass to make it a Prema one-three finish, having displaced Ilott to fifth on the penultimate lap.
Ticktum will start on reverse pole for tomorrow’s Sprint Race (10:10am BST) after recovering from a tough start in which he struggled with visibility and rain light issues, to eventually pass a struggling Aitken to finish eighth and snatch reverse pole.
HWA Racelab’s Artem Markelov didn’t even start after beaching his car in the gravel at Wurth Kurve on his sighting lap.
In the championship standings, Shwartzman now leads Ilott by 11 points with 48 points to the Brit’s 37, as Christian Lundgaard climbed to third with 26 points and two points ahead of ART GP teammate – Marcus Armstrong.
|1||Robert Shwartzman||Prema||36||56m 32.840s|
|2||Yuki Tsunoda||Carlin||36||+ 1.512|
|3||Guanyu Zhou||Uni-Virtuosi||36||+ 18.228|
|4||Mick Schumacher||Prema||36||+ 18.367|
|5||Callum Ilott||Uni-Virtuosi||36||+ 20.766|
|6||Christian Lundgaard||ART GP||36||+ 22.271|
|7||Marcus Armstrong||ART GP||36||+ 24.710|
|8||Dan Ticktum||DAMS||36||+ 28.851|
|9||Jack Aitken||Campos||36||+ 31.738|
|10||Sean Gelael||DAMS||36||+ 32.102|
|11||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||36||+ 33.012|
|12||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||36||+ 35.430|
|13||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||36||+ 38.963|
|14||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||36||+ 42.978|
|15||Roy Nissany||Trident||36||+ 53.122|
|16||Marino Sato||Trident||36||+ 54.292|
|17||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||36||+ 54.659|
|18||Pedro Piquet||Charouz||36||+ 62.481|
|19||Louis Deletraz||Charouz||36||+ 71.498|
|20||Guilherme Samaia||Campos||35||+ 1 lap|
|21||Giuliano Alesi||HWA Racelab||35||+ 1 lap|
|22||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||0||DNS|