Robert Shwartzman dominated the opening 2021 British Sprint Race to take victory as Oscar Piastri claimed the title lead after championship leader, Guanyu Zhou spun out.
Shwartzman made a clean start from fourth to storm into the lead at Abbey and proceeded to hold on for victory, despite surviving three safety car restarts following separate incidents including a spin for Zhou at The Loop.
Juri Vips fended off Christian Lundgaard for second as Felipe Drugovich and Theo Pourchaire rounded out the top five ahead of Piastri, Liam Lawson and Dan Ticktum, who clinched the last point ahead of Marcus Armstrong.
Richard Verschoor recovered from a pit gamble on lap 13 to charge through the field to overtake his MP Motorsport teammate – Lirim Zendeli on lap 18 to snatch tenth and reverse pole for the second Sprint Race at 2:45pm BST later today (17 July)
In the driver standings, Piastri now leads PREMA teammate, Shwartzman by two points on 83 points to the Russian’s 81 points whilst Zhou sits five points behind in third.
Lundgaard made a clean start from pole position but Shwartzman got a lightning getaway from fourth to sweep through on the inside of Abbey to claim the lead ahead of Vips as Lundgaard got hit in the rear by Roy Nissany, who retired immediately afterwards with damage at Turn Five.
Zhou meanwhile was just behind the pair and spun under his own power to ultimately stall his car and put a dent in his title aspirations, as the Safety Car was deployed until the end of lap three.
Once racing resumed, everyone held position but the Safety Car was immediately deployed for a second time as Alessio Deledda spun and stalled his HWA Racelab literally in the middle of the sweeping right-hand corner.
During this Safety Car period. Marino Sato putted with a technical issue but re-joined four laps down on lap nine and finished last of the drivers who were still circulating at the checkered flag.
Up front, Shwartzman comfortably held off Vips on the restart as Piastri passed Lawson for sixth into Turn Three on the inside, as the Kiwi struggled to warm up his tyres on the restart but managed to fend off Dan Ticktum for rest of the race.
Shwartzman’s lead however was wiped out on lap 12 as Guilherme Samaia spun out at Luffield to bring out the Safety Car for a third time, with Verschoor, Bent Viscaal, Matteo Nannini and Jack Aitken all pitting for fresh rubber.
Aitken however endured a difficult stop as his front right tyre failed to rotate properly due to something caught under the tyre on his exit from his pit box, which ultimately left him last out of those who finished on the lead lap.
Verschoor eventually was the only driver out of those who stopped to execute his gamble to perfection as he dispatched Ralph Boschung, Jehan Daruvala and Zendeli to snatch tenth and reverse pole for today’s second sprint race.
Shwartzman meanwhile cruised to victory after fending off a late charge from Vips in the closing laps to win by 0.971 seconds.
|1||Robert Shwartzman||PREMA||21||42m 34.300|
|2||Juri Vips||Hitech GP||21||+ 0.971|
|3||Christian Lundgaard||ART GP||21||+ 2.534|
|4||Felipe Drugovich||UNI-Virtuosi||21||+ 5.041|
|5||Theo Pourchaire||ART GP||21||+ 5.594|
|6||Oscar Piastri||PREMA||21||+ 8.403|
|7||Liam Lawson||Hitech GP||21||+ 11.640|
|8||Dan Ticktum||Carlin||21||+ 12.365|
|9||Marcus Armstrong||DAMS||21||+ 12.795|
|10||Richard Verschoor||MP Motorsport||21||+ 13.640|
|11||Lirim Zendeli||MP Motorsport||21||+ 14.222|
|12||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||21||+ 16.694|
|13||David Beckmann||Charouz||21||+ 17.215|
|14||Ralph Boschung||Campos||21||+ 19.347|
|15||Matteo Nannini||Campos||21||+ 20.113|
|16||Bent Viscaal||Trident||21||+ 21.048|
|17||Jack Aitken||HWA Racelab||21||+ 22.670|
|18||Marino Sato||Trident||17||+ 4 Laps|
|20||Alessio Deledda||HWA Racelab||Spin|