Trident’s David Schumacher took his first Formula 3 points in resounding fashion, controlling Race 2 to win from lights-to-flag at the Red Bull Ring, ahead of ART Grand Prix’s Frederik Vesti.
In third, Race 1 winner Dennis Hauger took plenty of plaudits with his second podium in a row, making up nine places from 12th to further increase his lead at the top of the championship.
Roman Stanek put plenty of pressure on Schumacher in the early stages of the race, but eventually succumbed to tyre wear and fell to fourth, just ahead of Jonny Edgar, who scored his joint-best finish to date.
After retiring from Race 1, Arthur Leclerc put on another brilliant recovery drive in Race 2, the PREMA Racing driver making up an incredible 21 places to sixth.
Despite running as high as second at one point, Hauger’s main Championship rival Victor Martins ended as one of five retirements when he seemingly lost power in the closing stages of the race.
AS IT HAPPENED
Despite not quite pulling right up to the white P1 line, Schumacher managed to bolt into the lead when the lights went out and even built up an early gap over Stanek. The Hitech Grand Prix racer did enough to retain P2 into the first turn, but just couldn’t match the pace of Schumacher, who had a 0.7s advantage by the halfway point of Lap 1.
However, all of the German’s early hard work was undone by the introduction of a Safety Car at the start of the second lap, after Tijmen Van der Helm clipped the back of Logan Sargeant following an overtake from the American at Turn 1.
Schumacher aced the restart, with the only movement in the top 10 coming from Vesti, who stole sixth from Edgar.
Stanek had to get his elbows out in a battle for second place, as Jak Crawford and Juan Manuel Correa both made attempts on the Czech driver, but neither of them could make the moves stick. Kaylen Frederick attempted to join in from fifth, but found himself at the mercy of Vesti and had to switch from attack to defence.
After running wide on his first attempt, Crawford composed himself and went again. This time, the American made the move stick and got through, but he was then taken out of contention with mechanical issues. His Hitech slowing to an eventual stop.
Just as Crawford ducked out, Frederick tagged Correa and sent the duo spinning off at Turn 1. A Virtual Safety Car was required to get the cars out of the way, with Crawford and Frederick retiring and Correa dropping to last.
Schumacher had made the most of the chaos behind him to build up a 3.5s gap over Stanek, who had Martins all over the back of him in third. The MP Motorsport racer swiftly dispatched of the Hitech, going around the outside for second.
Vesti was up to fourth and within touching distance of a podium. The ART Grand Prix racer was patient with his move, eventually passing Stanek smoothly down the inside for third.
Behind them, Hauger was on the charge once again. The Championship leader had briefly fallen to 14th at the start of the race, but was up to fifth and eying up Stanek with four laps to go. The Hitech Grand Prix driver was unable to hang on and handed the position over.
But the biggest mover of the lot was Hauger’s PREMA Racing teammate, Arthur Leclerc, the Monegasque running in seventh, behind Edgar, after starting from 27th.
There was heartbreak for title challenger Martins. The MP racer was up from P8 and hunting down Schumacher for the lead, but just as he sliced the gap down to 1.6s, he lost power and slowed to a stop. The Frenchman’s loss was Hauger’s gain, the Championship leader promoted P3 and set for a second successive podium.
Jack Doohan gained three places to finish seventh ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi and Olli Caldwell. Despite originally qualifying 27th, Johnathan Hoggard scored 10th to earn his first point.
THE KEY QUOTE – DAVID SCHUMACHER (TRIDENT)
“That was an amazing race. It is my first time on the podium, and it’s a victory. It feels amazing. Our pace was pretty strong throughout the race, especially at the beginning when I was able to pull a gap. Afterwards, it was about keeping it clean and finishing the race.”
THE CHAMPIONSHIP VIEW
After scoring his second podium in a row, Hauger leads the Drivers’ Championship on 97 points, ahead of Doohan on 72. Martins has dropped to third with 66, ahead of Caldwell on 55 and Vesti on 49.
In the Teams’ Championship, PREMA are first with 174, ahead of Trident on 136 and MP Motorsport on 101. ART Grand Prix are fourth with 97 and Hitech Grand Prix fifth with 30.
Dennis Hauger will get the opportunity to score a third podium in a row and further extend his grip on the Drivers’ Championship from pole in Race 3 on Sunday at 11.05am local time.