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Mercedes F1 junior Antonelli gets first Italian F4 win in Misano opener

by Ida Wood

Photo: ACI Sport

Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli opened his Italian Formula 4 win count with victory in the opening race at Misano.

It wasn’t easy for the Prema driver, as the poleman lost his lead advantage in the opening corner as team-mate Rafael Camara made a stronger start and had the inside line. Charlie Wurz meanwhile passed Alex Dunne to make it a Prema 1-2-3-4 up front with James Wharton in third.

The race descended into chaos behind them, with five seperate incidents knocking out five cars straight away and leaving two to hobble back to the pits and then retire too as the safety car was called out. On lap two there was even more craziness as Jenzer Motorsport’s Ethan Ischer ended up with a crumpled rear of his car and retired as well.

Racing resumed on lap five, and PHM Racing’s Jonas Ried was the next to exit proceedings.

Camara couldn’t shake off Antonelli, while their two team-mates behind initally gapped the chasing pack. Antonelli made his first attempts to regain the lead on lap eight of 17, darting around in Camara’s mirrors and practically being on his gearbox the whole lap.

Antonelli’s pressuring of Camara eventually brought the two behind back onto their tail after a handful more laps, although Antonelli was setting the fastest laps as he attacked his team-mate.

On lap 14 the top two almost made contact, and now there was a definitive four-car train at the front. The move for the lead came on the next lap, with Antonelli getting into the smallest possible space on the inside of Camara at turn 13 (the third in a succession of four right-handers) and then not leaving enough of a gap at the final corner to prevent Camara doing the same to him.

Into turn one Camara looked at the outside, but then had to start defending from Wharton. Wurz profited to make a diving move down the inside but as he moved back to the racing line at the exit of turn five US Racing’s Alex Dunne took the the opportunity to go down the inside of both of them.

Conrad Laursen then started attacking his team-mate Wharton for fifth, and Iron Lynx’s Maya Weug joined the action too after she made a forceful pass on US’s Marcus Amand early in the race to get up to seventh place.

Ultimately the positions didn’t change further on the final lap and Antonelli, after ending his part-time 2021 campaign with a second and two thirds, earned his first series win to rise to seventh in the standings.

Jenzer’s Valentin Kluss was the highest placed of the weekend debutants, down in 17th.

Race result (17 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema 32m02.202s
2 Rafael Camara Prema +2.020s
3 Alex Dunne US Racing +2.465s
4 Charlie Wurz Prema +3.670s
5 James Wharton Prema +4.029s
6 Conrad Laursen Prema +4.925s
7 Maya Weug Iron Lynx +5.361s
8 Marcus Amand US Racing +5.700s
9 Nikita Bedrin PHM Racing +6.112s
10 Emmo Fittipaldi Van Amersfoort Racing +9.675s
11 Nikhil Bohra US Racing +16.604s
12 Alfio Spina BWR Motorsports +17.584s
13 Ivan Domingues Iron Lynx +18.077s
14 Brando Badoer Van Amersfoort Racing +18.613s
15 Pedro Clerot AKM Motorsport +20.149s
16 Marcos Flack R-ace GP +20.683s
17 Valentin Kluss Jenzer Motorsport +21.249s
18 Jules Castro Van Amersfoort Racing +21.835s
19 Victoria Blokhina PHM Racing +26.341s
20 Elia Sperandio Maffi Racing +27.565s
21 Kim Hwarang BVM Racing +28.109s
22 Manuel Quondamcarlo AS Motorsport +39.349s
23 Rishab Jain BWR Motorsports +40.613s
24 Giovanni Maschio AS Motorsport +50.828s
25 Ismail Akhmed AKM Motorsport +51.483s
Ret Arias Deukmedjian Van Amersfoort Racing
Ret Jonas Ried PHM Racing
Ret Ethan Ischer Jenzer Motorsport
Ret Kacper Sztuka US Racing
Ret Taylor Barnard PHM Racing
Ret William Karlsson BVM Racing
Ret Andrea Frassineti Cars Racing
Ret Frederik Lund R-ace GP
Ret Pedro Perino US Racing
Ret Martinius Stenshorne Van Amersfoort Racing
Fastest lap: Antonelli, 1m35.855s

Championship standings
1 Dunne 73   2 Camara 65   3 Sztuka 43   4 Wharton 39   5 Stenshorne 30   6 Bedrin 27   7 Antonelli 26   8 Wurz 24   9 Amand 24   10 Barnard 21