Robert Shwartzman battled his way from sixth on the grid to victory as he held off pole sitter Yuki Tsunoda after the Japanese driver was forced to charge his way back through the field.
Tsunoda had dominated the race until a radio problem meant he didn’t hear his team’s call for him to make his mandatory pit stop and he was jumped for the lead as a result. He fought past UNI-Virtuosi pair Callum Ilott and Guanyu Zhou to reach second but didn’t have the tyres left to overtake Shwartzman.
Shwartzman now takes the championship lead as Ilott could only manage fifth behind Zhou (third) and Mick Schumacher (fourth) who had an under-the-radar kind of race. Zhou only just kept Schumacher behind him on the final lap as the German closed in on the Chinese driver quickly with slightly fresher tyres on a quickly drying track.
It was a long wait for the race to begin with persistent rain but after an hours wait and a few formation laps, the race eventually began behind the safety car. Artem Markelov did not take the start after spinning his HWA Racelab machine into the gravel trap on the way to the initial grid. Despite the difficult conditions, he was the only driver not to see the chequered flag!
Christian Lundgaard finished in sixth and looked the quickest man on track in the really wet conditions but lost a lot of ground as he ran wide at turn six late in the day, dropping him off the back of Ilott and into the clutches of team-mate Marcus Armstrong. However, the Dane was able to withstand the pressure from his team-mate to claim sixth.
It was a good day for Dan Ticktum who climbed to eighth by the flag and will have reverse grid pole as a result. He was lucky that the race was redflagged initially as his car went into ‘safe mode’ due to the slow pace and cold and wet conditions, but he passed Jack Aitken on the penultimate lap for that position with his team-mate Sean Gelael getting the final point.
Luca Ghiotto started the race in fourth but his poor start to the season in which he went into the year as title favourite continued as he fell down the order to eleventh at the chequered flag, while Jehan Daruvala will also be kicking himself to miss out on the points after a late race trip through the gravel relegated him down to twelfth.
|1||Robert Shwartzman||PREMA||36 Laps|
|11||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||+33.0|
|13||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||+38.9|
|14||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||+42.9|
|17||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||+54.6|
|20||Guilherme Samaia||Campos||+1 Lap|
|21||Guiliano Alesi||HWA Racelab||+1 Lap|
|22||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||+36 Laps|