Motopark’s Juri Vips won Race 2 of FIA European Formula 3 Championship at Hockenheim from Prema’s Mick Schumacher but second was enough to crown him the 2018 champion.
Vips started off well in the race from Schumacher and Prema teammate Robert Shwartzman as the fight for fourth was on between HitechGP’s Alex Palou, Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala and Prema’s Ralf Aron.
Aron was the gainer in the fight to get past both Palou and Daruvala with the Estonian then also managing to clear Shwartzman for third. The safety car was deployed soon after an incident for HitechGP’s Enaam Ahmed and Carlin’s Julian Hanses & Sacha Fenestraz.
Ahmed continued on with a puncture but both Hanses and Fenestraz retired from the race. Vips led Schumacher, Aron, Shwartzman, Palou and Daruvala behind the safety car and the Estonian maintained his lead on re-start as well.
Aron came under pressure from the trio behind but the Estonian held on as Palou lost out to Daruvala as well as Motopark’s Fabio Scherer to drop to seventh as Daruvala gained a place to fifth in his chase of Shwartzman.
At the front though, Vips started to increase his gap as couple of mistakes from Schumacher meant he fell back with Aron on his tail. They were soon joined by Daruvala who cleared Shwartzman for fourth.
In a tall ask for Red Bull junior and Motopark’s Dan Ticktum, the British driver did his all to get himself in the position to keep his title hopes alive from moving to seventh from 15th midway in the race.
But it wasn’t enough as Schumacher’s second place behind Vips was enough to hand the German his first single-seater title with a race to spare after ending up as runner-up twice in his Formula 4 campaigns.
Schumacher wins the European F3 title scoring 347 points with 13 podium finishes which includes eight race wins. The German succeeds Carlin’s Lando Norris as the champion and is the first Prema winner since Lance Stroll in 2016.
The podium was completed by Aron with Daruvala in fourth and Shwartzman rounding out the Top 5. For Ticktum, he could only finish seventh behind Scherer as his title hopes were dashed with Palou in eighth.
Motopark’s Jonathan Aberdein finished ninth with Carlin’s Nikita Troitskiy completing the Top 10. The Russian had Prema’s Guanyu Zhou on his tail but fended off well to keep a point to his name.
Position 11-20: Zhou, Ferdinand Habsburg, Ben Hingeley, Marino Sato, Sebastian Fernandez, Artem Petrov, Kevyan Andres, Ameya Vaidyanathan, Sophia Floersch and Frederik Vesti. DNF: Armstrong, Hanses and Fenestraz.