Hockenheim F3: Shwartzman dominates series' final race
Ferrari junior Robert Shwartzman crushed the opposition in the last-ever Formula 3 European Championship race at Hockenheim.
While Shwartzman took victory by an incredible 10.5 seconds, Prema Powerteam stablemate and new champion Mick Schumacher had an edgy race to second.
Schumacher lost significant chunks of time on at least two occasions, each time allowing the squabbling Alex Palou and Ralf Aron onto his tail.
“I did the same mistake again [as race two] in Turn 1 – it feels a bit embarrassing to be honest!” said Schumacher.
“I kept my fresh set of tyres for this race because I was starting from pole, so I had an advantage over Mick,” acknowledged Shwartzman.
“Mick was quite close in Turn 1 at the start, but I just kept it flat, then I started to pick up quite a good pace and pulled away.
“I could see the guys fighting behind, and the car felt good all race and I didn’t have much degradation at all – I was just enjoying the ride.”
Aron had wrested fourth spot from Palou at Turn 2 on the opening lap, but Palou tried to redress the balance down the long straight into the Spitzkehre hairpin.
Aron was caught on the inside line and tipped fellow Estonian Juri Vips into a spin, Sacha Fenestraz in turn riding over the rear of Aron’s car and retiring as a consequence of the damage.
Palou’s Hitech GP car moved up to third, while Aron, apparently showing no ill-effect, continued in fourth in his Prema machine.
Aron bided his time and mounted several attacks on Palou over the closing laps, but could not dislodge the Spaniard from the final podium spot.
On the last lap, Aron’s bid allowed Motopark’s Red Bull junior Dan Ticktum right onto their tails, but the positions didn’t change.
Prema’s Guan Yu Zhou moved up to sixth just after half-distance when he passed Motopark driver Jonathan Aberdein for sixth at Spitzkehre.
With Fenestraz sidelined, and Jehan Daruvala losing fifth place when he slid wide at the final corner on lap five and into the gravel, causing terminal damage to his car, Carlin honour was upheld by Ferdinand Habsburg.
Habsburg passed Aberdein for seventh, and had latched onto the train behind third-placed Palou by the finish.
Enaam Ahmed was ninth in his Hitech car, and might have come under attack from the astonishing Vips.
The Motopark talent was 22nd at the end of the opening lap after his removal from contention in his incident with Aron – not the first or even second time this season that the compatriots have clashed.
But Vips stormed through the field, and dislodged Sophia Florsch from the final position in the points.
Then he slowed exiting Turn 1, and had to repass Florsch with a dramatic move at Mercedes Arena, but this left him out of time to catch Ahmed or Aberdein.
Vips’s incident also left Ticktum safe in second in the standings, and allowed Shwartzman to gazump him for third.
Robert Shwartzman, PREMA Theodore Racing Dallara F317 - Mercedes-Benz
Photo by: FIA F3 / Suer
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