Mick Schumacher took his 5th consecutive FIA F3 race win this morning in dominant fashion, despite repeated safety car interventions.
Schumacher led an all-Prema Powerteam podium, with Marcus Armstrong and Robert Shwartzman taking 2nd and 3rd positions.
Despite overnight rain casting a damp (but drying) patch around his grid box, the German teen led from start, swatting Armstrong’s initial temptation for the lead, offering Shwartzman a shot at 2nd place.
Their brief fight for an early lead was halted Keyvan Soori Andres clattered into the rear of Sebastian Fernandez, ending both their days. Stranded, a safety car was required to clear the circuit.
Following the restart on lap five, Schumacher cleared away from Armstrong, setting four fastest laps in a row in the process and eventually extended his lead to 1.8s when the safety car was called for a second time.
This time the incident involved Artem Petrov and Alex Palou, with Petrov colliding with Palou in an attempt to take the Spaniard around the outside of turn three right-hander.
The race would restart for a final time on lap 21 with Schumacher continuing to lead from Armstrong and Shwartzman, only to be neutralised again a lap later when Sacha Fenestraz (returning to the track following a turn two off) went side-by-side with title protagonist Dan Ticktum and Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala.
Creating a carbon sandwich on the long run to turn three, Ticktum touched the right rear of Fenestraz, sending both into a spin, while Daruvala spun on his own attempting to avoid the melee, only to collect an styrofoam advertising board before touching the barrier.
The race would continue under the safety car, with Schumacher tamely rolling his Mercedes-powered machine to the flag, extending his lead over Ticktum to a mighty 43 points, with only 100 still on the table.
With each restart, Schumacher truly looked under pressure and the German calmly and serenely went about its business.
Armstrong drove a strong race to claim his first podium since Misano Race 1. It is a result that allows the Kiwi to close to with 18 points of Ticktum at a track where Prema are showing some astonishing strength.
It was no easy feat however. Armstrong was forced to defend hard from Shwartzman during the race, particularly following the lap 19 restart, when the Russian attempted a move around the outside of his Prema stablemate, but it was not to be.
Jüri Vips secured 4th place, despite falling to 5th at the start. Overtaken by Jonathan Aberdein, Vips surprised his Motopark teammate on the first restart to steal 4th place back. Thereafter Aberdein challenged Vips for the position again, only to fall behind as he faced a late threat from Ralf Aron.
Having followed Fenestraz for much of the race, Aron capitalised when Fenestraz ran wide at turn two from the final restart. Thereafter, the Estonian made quick work of Aberdein to secure 5th place, with the latter settling for 6th.
The late Fenestraz/Ticktum/Daruvala debacle promoted Fabio Scherer to 7th, while Ferdinand Habsburg took 8th at his home race. Guanyu Zhou made a seemingly rarer visit to the top ten by ending the day 9th, while Sophia Flörsch finally scored a point for van Amersfoort, following her series debut at Zandvoort in a July.
Schumacher has another pole position for race 3 later today and on current form of seven wins in eight races, it is looking increasingly unlikely that the Schumacher train will be stopped.