Ferrari Academy driver Robert Shwartzman returned to the top step of the FIA Formula 2 podium with a commanding lights-to-flag victory in Bahrain.
The Russian was rarely seen out front as the two main title contenders locked horns on track. Mick Schumacher seemed to have no pace all race long as he spent most of the twenty-three laps looking in his mirrors as Callum Ilott looked to move forward.
After a brief safety car for Théo Pourchaire’s HWA car, which had seen the fire extinguisher go off down the straight, Ilott saw Schumacher lock up into the tricky turn ten and went to make the move. But The Brit himself made a bigger error and clattered into Jehan Daruvala ahead of the pair, ending the Indian’s race.
Ilott suffered a broken front wing and was also given a drive-through penalty for the incident but Schumacher was able to avoid the collision to stay in the points.
But stay in the points, he only just did. No tyre life in the latter stages saw Schumacher drop back to seventh to only gain two points on his rival when he could have put one hand on the trophy.
Behind Shwartzman out front, Nikita Mazepin recovered from a near stall on the formation lap to claim second and keep himself in mathematical title contention, as Shwartzman does with victory.
With two laps left it looked like Pedro Piquet was on course for his maiden Formula 2 podium but his Charouz car lost power late on and the Brazilian was forced to park the car.
That left his teammate Louis Delétraz to take third place after a brilliant drive through the field having pitted under the safety car. The Swiss driver was almost within range of Mazepin come the flag in a thrilling race.
Marcus Armstrong managed to keep himself out of trouble but he finished just off the podium in fourth ahead of Ilott’s UNI-Virtuosi teammate Guanyu Zhou who took handy points away from Schumacher.
The German finished seventh after losing sixth to Christian Lundgaard on the last lap of the race. Feature race winner Felipe Drugovich was fairly quiet all day but he came home in eighth for the final point.
Schumacher will go into next weekend’s final round with a fourteen point lead over Ilott but the new, oval-like layout of Bahrain will surely throw up more typical F2 chaos.
|1||Robert Shwartzman||PREMA||23 Laps|
|2||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||+5.283|
|8||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||+23.510|
|10||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||+31.150|
|13||Guiliano Alesi||MP Motorsport||+43.904|
|17||Jack Aitken||Campos||+1 Lap|
|18||Guilherme Samaia||Campos||+1 Lap|
|19||Pedro Piquet||Charouz||DNF (Mechanical)|
|20||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||DNF (Mechanical)|
|21||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||DNF (Contact)|
|22||Théo Pourchaire||HWA Racelab||DNF (Mechanical)|