Mick Schumacher continued where he left off on Saturday as he clinched victory in race two at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday morning as his rival for the championship, Daniel Ticktum, crashed out on the penultimate lap.
The Prema Theodore Racing driver led from start to finish and survived two mid-race safety car restarts, while the race ended behind a third safety car caused by a three-car incident between Ticktum, Sacha Fenestraz and Jehan Daruvala.
Schumacher kept the lead at the start ahead of team-mates Marcus Armstrong and Robert Shwartzman, but the race was soon neutralised by the safety car, with Sebastian Fernandez and Keyvan Andres clashing at turn four. Both the Motopark and Van Amersfoort Racing drivers were out with damaged cars, but the restart was judged perfectly by Schumacher, who retained the lead into turn one.
The gap between the leading pair was stable throughout, with Schumacher looking comfortable out front, while Armstrong was forced to play a more defensive role against Shwartzman, who was aiming to extend his run of second place finishes to five in a row.
However, a second safety car again neutralised the race, with Artem Petrov ending up against the barriers at the exit of turn four after contact with Alex Palou, with the Hitech Bullfrog GP driver retiring a few corners later with a puncture, caused by the contact with the Van Amersfoort Racing racer.
There were just under two and a half minutes on the clock remaining when the race resumed once more, and Schumacher once again judged the restart to perfection, while Armstrong survived an overtaking attempt from Shwartzman to retain his second place.
On the penultimate lap, Ticktum saw his championship ambitions take a big hit, with the Briton finding himself between the Carlin duo of Fenestraz and Daruvala on run down to turn four.
The gap between the trio closed up, with Fenestraz hitting Ticktum and spinning in the barriers, while Daruvala found himself hitting the barriers on the other side of the track as he got caught up in the incident. Ticktum suffered a damaged suspension and pulled off the track at the end of the straight, but his retirement coupled with Schumacher’s win means he now sits forty-three points behind his rival with only four races of the season remaining.
The race finished behind the safety car, leaving Schumacher to take a fifth consecutive victory, with the German leading home a Prema Theodore Racing 1-2-3 ahead of Armstrong and Shwartzman.
Jüri Vips got the better of Motopark team-mate Jonathan Aberdein early on to claim fourth, while Ralf Aron made good gains to claim fifth in the closing laps, also finding a way passed the South African.
The retirements of Fenestraz, Ticktum and Daruvala promoted Fabio Scherer to seventh for Motopark ahead of Carlin’s Ferdinand Habsburg and Prema Theodore Racing’s Guanyu Zhou, while Sophia Flörsch claimed her maiden point in the championship in tenth for Van Amersfoort Racing.
Daruvala had already survived one incident with Carlin team-mate Nikita Troitskiy as the duo battled for what was ninth place, with the Russian finding himself with a broken suspension after being momentarily tipped onto two wheels at turn four. The incident is being investigated by the stewards and could have a bearing on the grid for race three should any penalty be needed.
But all eyes will be at the front of the field on Sunday afternoon as Schumacher aims for a second consecutive clean sweep of victories, and if he does so he will have one hand on the 2018 FIA European Formula 3 Championship title.
Red Bull Ring Race 2 Result
|1||4||Mick Schumacher||DEU||Prema Theodore Racing||35:47.756|
|2||8||Marcus Armstrong||NZL||Prema Theodore Racing||+0.348|
|3||10||Robert Shwartzman||RUS||Prema Theodore Racing||+0.747|
|5||7||Ralf Aron||EST||Prema Theodore Racing||+2.463|
|9||1||Guan Yu Zhou||CHN||Prema Theodore Racing||+8.625|
|10||25||Sophia Florsch||DEU||Van Amersfoort Racing||+9.337|
|11||65||Enaam Ahmed||GBR||Hitech Bullfrog GP||+9.874|
|12||77||Ben Hingeley||GBR||Hitech Bullfrog GP||+11.217|
|16/RET||11||Sacha Fenestraz||FRA||Carlin||+2 Laps|
|17/RET||27||Daniel Ticktum||GBR||Motopark||+2 Laps|
|18/RET||9||Jehan Daruvala||IND||Carlin||+2 Laps|
|RET||39||Alex Palou||ESP||Hitech Bullfrog GP||Retired|
|RET||12||Artem Petrov||RUS||Van Amersfoort Racing||Retired|
|RET||15||Keyvan Andres||DEU||Van Amersfoort Racing||Retired|