Shwartzman Takes Crucial Podium with PREMA
Robert Shwartzman took a crucial second place in the Feature Race in Spain to close the gap in the championship to only 17 points.
The Russian started from the front row and quickly took the lead, but different strategies meant he lost the place in the pitstops.
After a late safety car, the state of the race changed completely. Shwartzman dived into the pits for a second pitstop, mirroring the choice of those closest to him.
Shwartzman was able to pull off a double pass to take third then moved up to second with a daring move on the outside of turn three.
Shwartzman said: “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.”
Meanwhile, Mick Schumacher also managed to take some points. However, the safety car didn’t play out well for the German driver as he had pitted for new tyres just before. He lost ground to the drivers around him and a second safety car neutralised his chances of a late comeback to eventually finish sixth.
Schumacher said: “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.”
PREMA will start the reverse grid Sprint Race from the second row with Schumacher who will want to claim another podium.
Image Credits: (C) Formula Motorsport Limited