PREMA Racing claimed another podium finish today at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, in Race 1 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at the Spanish GP venue. After scoring his best qualifying result in the series yesterday, Robert Shwartzman cruised to a pivotal second place in the feature race, trimming his gap to the lead of the championship.
The 20-year-old Russian started from the front row and quickly took the lead, but after a DRS pass, the different tactics got in the way. After pitting early to move from soft to hard tyres, he had to dispose of the cars going for the reverse strategy which made it impossible for him to fight back. Then a late safety-car changed the complexion of the race, with Shwartzman diving into the pits for a second tyre change, mirroring the choice of his closest championship contenders.
Re-starting from P5 with fresh tyres, Shwartzman was absolutely brilliant. First, he pulled an amazing double pass to take third place, benefitting from a tight battle out front, and then moved up to second with a daring move on the outside of turn 3.
Mick Schumacher also harvested some points, but the aforementioned safety-car didn’t play out well with his strategy, which was to start on hard tyres and then move to softs. The German lost ground and another safety-car eventually neutralized his chances for a late comeback. Schumacher finished in P6.
#20 MICK SCHUMACHER
“I had a great start again and took the lead early on. However, the tyre degradation was higher than expected, so we brought my pit stop a few laps forward. When the safety car came in shortly afterwards and the other drivers in front of me put on new tyres as well, it was hard to get any further ahead in the end. But now we focus on tomorrow’s race and try to get the most out of our good starting position.”
Race 1: P6
Fastest Lap: 1:28.889
Fastest Lap: 1:34.649
#21 ROBERT SHWARTZMAN
“It was a very tough and interesting race for us and I’m generally happy with the result and the points. The start was good although a lock-up caused some vibrations and increased the tyre wear. After the pit-stop, our pace was good but the traffic started to be an issue with all the cars on a different strategy being slower. I was not lucky in terms of the track positioning, so Ilott ran away from me a bit. Then the second safety-car came out and we pitted again, which was the right call. After the re-start, the guys out front were fighting and I waited for it to work to my advantage. Eventually, it happened, and I got by Ilott and Mazepin with a fast run out of turn 7. At that point, I was in P3 and when Matsushita passed Tsunoda for the lead I went to the outside of turn 3, taking P2 just in time before the final safety car. I want to thank the team for their good strategy choice at that stage. We need to work really hard to understand how to deal with degradation and hopefully tomorrow we will have another good race.”
Race 1: P2
Fastest Lap: 1:28.564
Fastest Lap: 1:34.752
Source | Photo: PREMA Racing