Ferrari junior and Prema’s Guanyu Zhou took his second win of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship season in Race 1 at Hockenheim.
Zhou started off well from Prema teammate Robert Shwartzman as the fight for third was on between HitechGP’s Alex Palou and Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala. Behind, there was also a tussle between Prema’s Marcus Armstrong and Mick Schumacher.
A slow start from Palou allowed Daruvala to take advantage and pass him in Turn 2 but the Spaniard fought back at Turn 6 Hairpin where they made contact on the exit when Palou flew over the kerb to hit the side of Daruvala.
The Indian retired from the race when the safety car was deployed but before that there was a clash between Armstrong and Schumacher when the German clattered the back of the Kiwi in the final sector of the lap.
Schumacher almost collided with Red Bull junior and Motopark’s Dan Ticktum as he dived into the pits along with Armstrong for front wing change. On re-start, Zhou headed Shwartzman as Motopark’s Juri Vips slotted in third from Palou.
The fight for fifth was on between Carlin’s Sacha Fenestraz, Ticktum and Prema’s Ralf Aron. The Frenchman and Ticktum made contact in the Hairpin corner as the British managed to get ahead of him but it was Aron making up two places to fifth.
Later on, Ticktum got through Aron for fifth in the chase of Palou but the Spaniard held on until the end of the race to keep fourth from a battling Shwartzman and Vips. The Russian managed to keep off Vips to secure the rookie championship.
At the front though, Zhou eased into his second win of the season in a Prema 1-2 with Shwartzman and Vips completing the podium. It was a confusing end to the race when the chequered flag was waved one lap earlier than the scheduled time.
Palou was fourth from Ticktum with Aron taking sixth ahead of Fenestraz and Carlin teammate Nikita Troitskiy. The Russian had a fight with HitechGP’s Enaam Ahmed as the two changed places couple of times.
Ahmed had to settle for ninth with newcomer Van Amersfoort Racing’s Frederik Vesti in 10th but the point will go to 11th placed Carlin’s Julian Hanses as Schumacher just missed on a Top 10 result in 12th position.
With Ticktum scoring and Schumacher not, the gap has decreased to 39 points with two races remaining. The German had dropped to the back of the field and had some interesting fights – especially the move on VAR’s Sophia Floersch in the Hairpin.
A retirement for Armstrong meant the Kiwi is out of the title race. The results though could change still as Schumacher is under investigation for three separate incidents while Ticktum is as well along with few others.
Position 11-20: Hanses, Schumacher, Artem Petrov, Ben Hingeley, Floersch, Jonathan Aberdein, Kevyan Andres, Sebastian Fernandez, Marino Sato and Ameya Vaidyanathan. DNF: Ferdinand Habsburg, Armstrong and Daruvala.