Mick Schumacher held on in a tense conclusion to the first Formula 3 European Championship race at the Nurburgring to rack up his fourth win from as many rounds.
Schumacher had been beaten to pole position by Robert Shwartzman by 0.047 seconds in qualifying on Friday, but beat his Prema team-mate into the first corner of the race.
At the restart following an early safety car, Schumacher was able to build a gap as?Shwartzman came under attack from Ralf Aron.
Shwartzman soon rallied however to get back within a second of Schumacher, and in the final laps the top three drivers were inside one second after championship Dan Ticktum had passed Aron and caught the lead battle.
Ultimately, Shwartzman’s attentions turned to defending from Ticktum rather than attacking Schumacher, who was able to take victory by 0.8 seconds.
Ticktum got closest to Shwartzman under braking for the chicane on the final lap, but?Shwartzman occupied the centre of the road to keep the place.
Red Bull junior Ticktum was perhaps circumspect knowing he would move into an increased championship lead of 26 points. Schumacher is now his closest rival, one point ahead of Juri Vips after the Estonian’s strong run came to an end when he was taken out at the first corner.
Most of the second half of the top 10 was eliminated by the incident, triggered by contact between Jehan Daruvala and Alex Palou that sent the latter clattering into Vips.
While Daruvala, Palou and Marino Sato were all eliminated on the spot, causing the safety car, Vips continued to the pits but had to retire together with Fabio Scherer.
Just in front of that, second-row starters Ticktum and Enaam Ahmed had been jumped by the typically-fast-starting Aron off the line.
Ticktum got back ahead at half-distance, edging his way around the outside of Aron at the first corner, with Ahmed following him past down the inside of Turn 3.
The first-corner crash aided Marcus Armstrong’s recovery from 18th to sixth following a grid penalty for an engine change on Friday.
Already up to seventh following the first lap, Armstrong gained the final place when Artem Petrov served a drive-through penalty for a jump start.
That followed earlier heartbreak for Petrov’s Van Amersfoort Racing team when Sophia Florsch slowed to a halt out of eighth place at the safety car restart.
Guan Yu Zhou came through to seventh ahead of Jonathan Aberdein, with Ben Hingeley and Keyvan Andres completing the top 10 from the 10th row of the grid.
Race results (24 laps)
|4||Enaam Ahmed||Hitech GP||+4.225s|
|7||Guan Yu Zhou||Prema||+13.214s|
|8||Ben Hingeley||Hitech GP||+22.388s|
|10||Keyvan Andres||Van Amersfoort Racing||+22.856s|
|15||Artem Petrov||Van Amersfoort Racing||+37.895s|
|Ret||Sophia Floersch||Van Amersfoort Racing|
|Ret||Alex Palou||Hitech GP|
|Fastest lap: Schumacher, 1m21.443s
1?Ticktum 237? ?2?Schumacher 211? ?3?Vips 210? ?4?Armstrong 198? ?5?Aron 193.5? ?6?Ahmed 166? ?7?Zhou 160? ?8?Shwartzman 147? ?9?Palou 134? ?10 Daruvala 117.5