Lawson Hits Back After Problems for Zendeli at Lausitzring

by Connor Jackson
Liam Lawson - ADAC F4 - Van Amersfoort

After the pure dominance of Lirim Zendeli in the opening two rounds, Liam Lawson ended the Laustizring weekend proving that the title fight was far from over in the ADAC Formula 4 Championship. Two wins and a second ensured the gap was shrunk to 25 points as we approach the halfway point in the season.

Zendeli himself had been on for another lights to flag victory in race one until his car came to a halt, but ensured he prevailed in the second encounter, beating Lawson to the line. Mick Wishofer also finished in the top four for every race, picking up two third places, while Charles Weerts and Enzo Fittipaldi picked up a second place each.

The final driver to record a podium was Olli Caldwell. The Prema Powerteam driver had been one of nine drivers to retire during an oil spill in the opening race, taking out a number of front-runners. Finally in the rookie cup, David Schumacher jumps to the top of the standings.

Race 1

Winner: Liam Lawson – Van Amersfoort Racing

It was a typically strong start from Lirim Zendeli who led away Lawson from the line. Behind, the field remained relatively calm for the opening lap except for Leon Kohler, who dropped fluid onto the track at turn six after an opening lap collision.

This proved to be havoc on the second lap with cars sliding into the grave. In total seven cars retired, with the race red flagged.

An eight minute sprint was left after the oil was cleared with Zendeli looking on course for a simple victory. Dramatically though, his car suffered an electrical problem on the penultimate lap, handing the win to Liam Lawson who had been running second.

Enzo Fittipaldi and Mick Wishofer rounded out the podium with Konsta Lappalainen benefitting the most from the multiple retirements to finish fourth ahead of Andreas Estner and Leonardo Lorandi. Only ten cars would eventually finish the race with Charles Weerts finishing last after contact with David Schumacher on the opening lap.

Lirim Zendeli leads the field away in race one (Credit: Hoch Zwei / ADAC Motorsports)

Race 2

Winner: Lirim Zendeli – US Racing-CHRS

It was a carbon copy start for Lirim Zendeli, the championship leader in race two as he pulled out a two second lead by the end of the second lap. Behind him, Olli Caldwell had made his way up to second by the opening turn with Frederik Vesti demoted, the Dane’s day would only get worse, forced to retire in the pits.

Liam Lawson was soon the man to watch, jumping to fourth in front of Enzo Fittipaldi, off the pace in the opening stages. It turned out all the Prema’s were struggling with Caldwell allowing Zendeli to break away, while holding off Mick Wishofer, Lawson and later Charles Weerts.

Caldwell’s pressure was relieved when teammate Gianluca Petecof collided with and ran over the top of Andreas Estner, bringing out the safety car. During the final one lap sprint, Lawson jumped past both Wishofer and then Caldwell into the final corner, the three separated by 0.2 seconds over the line, with Zendeli taking the flag.

Fifth would go the way of Weerts who claimed the fastest lap, while Fittipaldi spent his final lap holding off the rookies of David Schumacher and Joey Alders who rounded out the top eight.

David Schumacher (#27) retook the lead of the rookie cup, while Enzo Fittipaldi (#79) benefitted from the chaos in race one to take his third podium of the year (Credit: Hoch Zwei / ADAC Motorsports)

Race 3

Winner: Liam Lawson – Van Amersfoort Racing

The reverse grid race is often an opportunity for rookies to prove their defensive skills, with Joey Alders and David Schumacher both leading the top eight away from the pack.

The drivers remained static during the opening half, but it would soon turn sour for the rookies as Schumacher and Alders fell victim to the charge from behind. Alders then spun in front of the German, forcing him into avoiding action, knocking them both out of the points.

With six minutes to run, Lawson made the move for the lead on Weerts stick, quickly extending his lead as the Belgian found himself under pressure from Mick Wishofer and Lirim Zendeli only to hold off the pair as they compromised each other. Frederik Vesti meanwhile recovered his disastrous weekend with a fifth from the back of the grid.

Enzo Fittipaldi would take sixth having fallen foul of the leaders in the opening laps ahead of Olli Caldwell, who consolidates seventh in the championship ahead of Nicklas Krutten who also finished behind him in the race.

Championship Points after Round 3: Zendeli – 152; Lawson – 127; Wishofer – 97; Fittipaldi – 95; Weerts – 86; Vesti – 75; Caldwell – 67; Krutten – 40

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