Juri Vips Retakes Championship Lead with Austrian Success


Credit: Gruppe C Photography

Juri Vips retook the ADAC Formula 4 championship lead in the final race at the Red Bull Ring. During the reverse grid affair, the Prema Powerteam driver slowly made progress, benefiting from inexperienced leaders.

It was David Malukas‘ first front row start of his career, with the American forced to defend his pole into the first corner. He initially lost ground to Kush Maini, but regained his position before turn three.

Despite their initial battles, the two soon found themselves breaking away as the Prema car forced their way through, with Vips the first dispose of Lirim Zendeli. Elsewhere Lorenzo Colombo lost his promising points position as he ran onto the kerbs around turn four forcing him through the gravel.

A safety car was called with Oliver Soderstrom stuck in the barrier, destroying Malukas’ lead and forcing the American into his first safety car restart.

He made an almost getaway though, as the field went four wide for fourth into turn two. Nicklas Nielsen would come out on top initially, but Kami Lalberte and Marcus Armstrong pressured immediately behind. Malukas’ miracle run could not last forever and Maini made it through with 18 minutes left, soon followed by Vips.

Vips was not prepared to hang around though and with main rival Felipe Drugovich outside the points, he made it past Maini and broke away.

Maini could have been on for a comfortable second, but an unforced spin at the hairpin dropped him down the top ten. He’d later touch Malukas, dropping to the back.

The final third of the race saw the resulting battle for second take up the interest with Nielsen now caught by the advancing Laliberte and Armstrong.

A late safety car was called as Cedric Piro‘s came to a stop on the second straight.

This ensured that Vips crossed the line in neutral conditions with Nielsen eventually hanging on to second. The podium was rounded by Armstrong after a spectacular drive through the top ten.

Laliberte would get ahead of Zendeli in the closing laps with Drugovich recovering to reduce the points lost to Vips in sixth.

Behind them, the US Racing cars of Schramm and Julian Hanses took seventh and eight, while Frederik Vesti completed a mediocre weekend with ninth ahead of Fabio Scherer.