Mick Schumacher run of wins was finally broken by Ferrari junior and Prema teammate Robert Shwartzman as he took his maiden FIA European Formula 3 win in Race 3 at Spielberg.
Schumacher started on pole for the final race of the Red Bull Ring weekend to make it six out of six and extend his championship lead over Red Bull junior and Motopark’s Dan Ticktum heading into the final round of the 2018 European F3 season.
The German made a good start but Shwartzman was slightly better with the inside line to take the lead as Schumacher went a bit wide in the corner to concede the position despite attempts to re-pass later in the lap.
The Russian headed Schumacher for the first time in six races with Motopark’s Jonathan Aberdein holding third from Prema’s Marcus Armstrong, as Ticktum gained two places to fifth from Prema’s Ralf Aron and Carlin’s Ferdinand Habsburg.
An off moment from Motopark’s Juri Vips meant he dropped to 10th behind the Carlin pair of Jehan Daruvala and Sacha Fenestraz. But the Estonian was quick to recover a place as Fenestraz lost two places to drop outside the Top 10 promoting Prema’s Guanyu Zhou in.
At the front, Shwartzman controlled the race pretty much but Schumacher stayed on his tail all-through as Aberdein defended from Ticktum, who passed Armstrong early on. Aron in seventh had Habsburg, Daruvala, Vips and Zhou on his tail.
The Estonian defended hard but couldn’t keep to the pace of Habsburg and Daruvala as both managed to pass through in sixth and seventh respectively. By that time, Vips dropped off from the pack as HitechGP’s Alex Palou cleared Zhou for 10th.
It was stationery at the front as Shwartzman took his maiden outright win in European F3 from Schumacher – ending the German’s victory run, but he still managed to extend the points advantage to 49 going into the finale at Hockenheim in October over Ticktum.
The British driver had it tough in the final race as well as he was stuck behind teammate Aberdein for major part of the race. The Red Bull junior tried hard to pass the South African, but couldn’t ruffle Aberdein much.
Armstrong finished fifth with Habsburg managing to hold off teammate Daruvala by 0.528s for sixth in a better race for the Carlin duo while Vips got the better of his countryman Aron on the final lap to finish seventh.
While Aron lost out to Vips, he managed to keep off Palou for ninth with the two only 0.531s apart to complete the points scoring position. It was a dismal race for Zhou who had to fight off Motopark’s Fabio Scherer for 11th.
The impressive run from their drivers meant Prema already sealed the teams’ title with one round to go, scoring 798.5 points to second places Motopark on 655 with no chance to topple the Italian team in the three races.
Position 11-22: Zhou, Scherer, Kevyan Andres, Artem Petrov, Sophia Floersch, Sebastian Fernandez, Nikita Troitskiy, Enaam Ahmed, Julian Hanses, Ben Hingeley, Marino Sato and Ameya Vaidyanathan. DNF: Fenestraz.