Prema’s Mick Schumacher is the new points leader of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship after taking his fourth straight win in Race 1 at Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring circuit.
It was a wet first race of the penultimate weekend in the 2018 European F3 championship with Schumacher starting from pole from teammate Robert Shwartzman at Spielberg in a crucial race with title rival Motopark’s Dan Ticktum only sixth.
The German made a good start with Shwartzman and Marcus Armstrong behind but Carlin’s Ferdinand Habsburg shot into fourth from outside the Top 10 after a slow start from Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala which caught Ticktum out in the lead up to the first corner.
Shwartzman stuck on the tail of Schumacher for few laps with Armstrong fighting Habsburg for third, while Motopark’s Juri Vips had another fast starter HitechGP’s Alex Palou to battle. Daruvala dropped to ninth with Ticktum just behind.
The tussle ahead seemed settled once Schumacher got his mojo running with Shwartzman not able to challenge his teammate for the win even though they were close. It stayed the same as Schumacher scored his fourth consecutive win – his seventh of the season.
With the full points scored, Schumacher now becomes the new championship leader with 286 to his name while Ticktum sits second with 268 with five races remaining. Shwartzman took his fourth straight second place and the rookie win.
While Habsburg and Armstrong battled for third, HitechGP’s Palou slowly moved himself into the fight after clearing Vips early on. The Spaniard wasted no time then to pounce on Habsburg and also Armstrong to take third where he would finish.
Meanwhile, Armstrong and Habsburg continued their tussle behind with the Austrian getting ahead of the Kiwi midway in the race. But Armstrong fought back to retake fourth to score some handy points with Habsburg settling for fifth.
It was a close finish for sixth with Vips fending off Motopark teammate Jonathan Aberdein to the line – the duo separated by just 0.129s. Ticktum finished eighth after a supreme fight against Daruvala and Scherer.
The Indian was stuck behind Scherer for long but eventually made the move to get to eighth. Ticktum followed him to ninth and quickly got on the tail of Daruvala as they ensued in a wheel-to-wheel battle which brought Scherer in the game as well.
They went three abreast at one point but Ticktum emerged as the leader with Daruvala then also losing out to Scherer after few laps. Despite the fight, Ticktum lost his points lead and now has to play the catch up role to a better looking Schumacher.
Scherer pulled away from Daruvala to finish ninth with the Indian settling for 10th from teammate Sacha Fenestraz who had Prema’s Guanyu Zhou on his tail in the end stages of the 22-lap wet race.
Position 11-22: Fenestraz, Zhou, Ben Hingeley, Sebastian Fernandez, Marino Sato, Nikita Troitskiy, Sophia Floersch, Kevyan Andres, Ameya Vaidyanathan, Julain Hanses, Artem Petrov and Enaam Ahmed. DNF: Ralf Aron.