It was another weekend in which Lirim Zendeli proved he was the master of the Tatuus-Abarth, taking two poles, two out of the three wins and a third place to extend his ADAC Formula 4 Championship lead to 50 points after only two rounds.
The first (of three) Hockenheim rounds saw the US Racing-CHRS team dominate proceedings with Zendeli’s teammate Mick Wishofer win in race three coming after contact between the two in race one. Liam Lawson was the leaders closest competition all weekend, collecting two second places and a nail-biting wheel-to-wheel battle with Zendeli in the final race.
Olli Caldwell picked up a podium in the opening race, though all Prema Powerteam drivers struggled throughout the weekend, while Frederik Vesti was third in the second event and moves up to second in the standings with teammate Charles Weerts again performing strongly. Elsewhere, Nicklas Krütten‘s second place in the final race saw him move into the lead of the rookie standings.
Winner: Lirim Zendeli – US Racing-CHRS
A dramatic start, saw a number of cars involved in incidents, including two BWT Mucke Motorsport runners, when Leon Köhler launched himself over the back of Niklas Krütten. Another crash on the following lap brought out the safety car as Lirim Zendeli maintained his place at the front.
On the restart, Mick Wishofer was not prepared to let Zendeli get away making the pass into the hairpin. Zendeli got the undercut though and squeezed out his teammate into Mercedes Arena. Wishofer could not react though and broke his front wing, dropping him out of the race. From there Zendeli broke away from Liam Lawson, winning the race by almost 2 seconds.
Lawson had struggled off the start, but remained competitive after the first lap, breaking away and maintaining the gap to Olli Caldwell. The man to watch though was David Schumacher, son of Grand Prix winner Ralf, who after starting ninth broke past the VAR and Prema crowd to take fourth after an excellent move around the outside of Enzo Fittipaldi at the parabolica.
Fittipaldi’s fifth proved to be tough to hold after the combined attack of Frederik Vesti and Charles Weerts in the closing laps, while British F4 driver Jack Doohan in the Prema rounding out the top eight.
Winner: Lirim Zendeli – US Racing-CHRS
It was another first lap incident that brought out the safety car, with Enzo Fittipaldi and Leonardo Lorandi making contact on the exit of turn 3. They pair retired with Olli Caldwell getting caught up and dropping to the back.
This ensured it would once again be another fight between Lirim Zendeli and Liam Lawson for the lead. For the second time on Saturday, Zendeli found his groove early on, breaking away from the Kiwi behind him. Lawson himself soon dropped back, distracted by the charging Frederik Vesti hoping to reduce his gap to Zendeli in the championship. Vesti was unable to get past though, settling for third as Zendeli took the flag.
As the race drew to a close, Charles Weerts was beginning to struggle, forcing Mick Wishofer onto the asphalt and Joey Alders across the kerbs, but managed to hold onto fourth from Alders and Jack Doohan. Behind them, Wishofer had to settle for seventh from Nicklas Krütten after a late race charge.
Disappointment was felt for David Schumacher, who once again had been the man to watch in the opening half, only to lose time to the leaders after an intense battle for fifth at the mid-race period. He eventually ninth from Tom Beckhauser for the second time in two races.
Winner: Mick Wishofer – US Racing-CHRS
With the top eight reversed, it was Nicklas Krütten the rookie who started on pole, maintaining the position during a clean opening lap. Having finished some way behind the leaders in the second race, Wishofer was in prime position to make up for his race one retirement, hounding the BWT Mucke Motorsport in the opening laps.
Most eyes were on the VAR drivers in the opening laps, with four of the five squabbling over the final podium place. The infighting did anything but help them though, allowing Mick Schumacher and Lirim Zendeli into the fight. Charles Weerts had broken away, but the battle for fourth continued until Schumacher was handed a drive through for track limits violations.
Back up front, Wishofer sailed past Krütten in the opening laps, experiencing minimal pressure to take the victory two seconds in front of the chasing Krütten. Rounding out the podium was Zendeli after one of the greatest fight-backs of the weekend from eighth, demoting Weerts with two laps to go.
The VAR’s competition eventually allowed Jack Doohan into the fight, taking fifth from Liam Lawson in the closing stages. The Kiwi had expertly defended fifth from Zendeli for over half the race, but slipped back as his tyres wore off. Meanwhile, Enzo Fittipaldi came from the back row to finish seventh ahead of Frederik Vesti.
Championship Standings: Zendeli – 115; Vesti – 65; Fittipaldi – 61; Lawson – 59; Weerts – 57; Wishofer – 55; Caldwell – 46; Krütten – 36