Schumacher clinches F2 title in 18th place as Daruvala takes first win

Formula 2

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Mick Schumacher has won the Formula 2 championship, despite finishing 18th in the final race of the season.

The Prema driver flat-spotted a tyre on the first lap of the sprint race, which eventually forced him to make a pit stop, leaving him well outside the points. But as title rival Callum Ilott slipped to 10th at the flag, Schumacher clinched the crown by 14 points.

Jehan Daruvala won the Sakhir sprint race, scoring his first Formula 2 victory, overtaking pole sitter Dan Ticktum after a 10-lap battle between the pair.

Going into the championship finale, Schumacher had a 14-point lead over Ilott, with a maximum of 17 points available for win and fastest lap.

The points lead swapped between Ilott and Robert Shwartzman early in the year. However Schumacher’s regular podium visits moved him into contention. A run of poor results for Shwartzman over the Silverstone and Barcelona races saw him slip down the order, as Schumacher ascended into the lead.

The two title rivals started the race alongside each other on the second row, Schumacher in third and Ilott fourth, behind Ticktum and Daruvala. Schumacher moved up to second at the start but locked up heavily at turn four and fell back into Daruvala’s clutches.

By lap 10, severe vibrations on Schumacher’s car were visible. Race leader Ticktum had said his rear tyres were suffering already. A short Virtual Safety Car period to retrieve debris dropped by Louis Deletraz passed without drama.

Schumacher’s deteriorating tyres allowed Daruvala to pass him back for second and by lap 17, Ilott was once again fighting him. For lap after lap Schumacher absorbed huge pressure from his title rival, and was still on course to seal the title if he could stay ahead for the remaining 32 laps.

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But Ilott harassed Schumacher into further lock-ups until his tyres were too poorly damaged to hold on. Ilott dived to the inside with a brilliant pass at turn four, following which Schumacher lost more places, and finally pitted for fresh rubber.

Daruvala and Ticktum continued to battle for the lead, over five seconds ahead of Ilott. Despite repeated lockups, Ticktum was able to keep ahead until a turn one overtake put Daruvala in the lead on lap 25. A few of the very short corners on the Bahrain outer circuit later, Schumacher’s title hopes were bolstered as Yuki Tsunoda, who had started eighth, passed Ilott for third.

Ilott was also passed by team mate Guanyu Zhou and slipped back to fifth. Now seven seconds away from second place – the minimum he needed to beat Schumacher in the points – his title chances were realistically over. Tsunoda passed Ticktum on the penultimate lap for a Carlin one-two finish, Ticktum settling for third on ragged tyres.

Over the final laps Ilott continued to stumble down the order. He took the flag in 10th while Schumacher, 18th, became the new champion.

Schumacher finishes the year on 215 points, Ilott on 201 and Tsunoda has sealed third place in the standings on 200. Shwartzman finished fourth on 177 and Schumacher’s 2021 Haas team mate Nikita Mazepin fifth with 164.

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    Hazel Southwell
    Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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    22 comments on “Schumacher clinches F2 title in 18th place as Daruvala takes first win”

    1. Exciting close racing almost throughout the race.

    2. How much better could F1 be if they could race like that…

    3. F2 and F3 are awesome to watch.

    4. Wow, what a finale! Well done to Mick, he’s had a really good season in a competitive field. Now for the big leagues!

    5. I hope Mick wins many more championships in F1 in future, and good that india has got a proper racer in the international level, congrats to jehan daruvala, you have done the unthinkable what narain, karun failed to do.

      1. Raveen — Karun actually won a sprint race in GP2 in 2008 at Hockenheim on his way to 10th in the championship, so he’s still the most successful Indian driver in this category. Having said that I think Daruvala’s ultimate potential is greater, hopefully he’ll get another shot in F2 next year, though if he’s dropped by Red Bull he might struggle to pull together a budget.

        1. Yes bro you are right, karun has won a sprint race, but the way jehan defended today told me he has a great potential, I hope this is enough for redbull to retain karun in their driver academy

          1. I think Karun might be a bit old for the Red Bull academy now ;)

    6. Man, what a race, edge of the seat stuff. Carlin boys really brought it home today, good to see Daruvala see off a difficult season with a win. Awesome weekend for Tsunoda, he’s definitely ready for the step up from F2.

      Felt bad for Ilott, for a glorious moment it seemed like he was set to flip the bird at Ferrari and pull off an upset, but his hesitation was once again his downfall, just like in the feature race where he spent his tyres being in Daruvala’s wheeltracks, this time he consumed his tyres by waiting too long to pass Schumacher.

      Congrats to Schumacher, he’s not the finished product yet and will have a tough time next year but I think he deserves it, has easily been the most all-round intelligent racer in this field. Really enjoyed following his progress all year.

      I feel the FIA should revise the rules for weaving on the straights. Ticktum and Schumacher were weaving far too much. I know it’s allowed but it’s very easy to lose the car whilst making those sharp turns, especially given how gusty it was today.

    7. Delighted for Mick.

      Very impressive this season (this weekend apart!)

    8. Congratulations to Mick for winning championship, but the best F2 driver is Tsunoda.
      Nobody has thought about this, what would happen if Tsunoda goes to Red Bull instead of Alpha Tauri in exchange of a Honda reconsideration of 2021 F1 departure?

      1. @doctorlovesexy For Tsunoda’s sake I hope not. His career would end if he debuted next to Verstappen, doesn’t matter how good he is.

        1. someone or something
          6th December 2020, 14:03

          Also, Honda’s decision has been made, official announcement and all. We’re not talking about a minor insecurity that might go away when a driver with the right nationality steps up. We’re talking about the world’s largest producer of internal combustion engines, who, after 6 years of not meeting expectations, decided it just wasn’t worth spending trillions of yen every year just to be an also-ran.
          If they reverted their decision because of a single junior driver, they’d embarrass themselves, plain and simple.

        2. I mainly hope that he proves himself well enough that he can stay in F1 even when Honda is not, certainly has a good chance by the look of it

      2. Damn, I really hope not. Red Bull is a definite career trajectory killer at this point.

    9. Get in there Mick

    10. I enjoyed the season as well, this race had shown, that many of these drivers are already very prepared, even if there were lock-ups and some other errors, they just managed to race hard and close, without major incidents. So congrats to most of them :) These cars are so nimble, and well suited for racing.

      Probably the F2 live timing could include some basic tyre information (compound, laps), and strangely while the F1 live timing is ahead of the world feed (or my local TV, actually I watch it via the TV’s stream), while the F2 live timing sometimes were lagging behind it, sometimes felt to be ahead of it, sometimes it looked like I’m better off with refreshing the page, because it stopped updating.

    11. Very pleased with Schumacher’s win, because I was a massive fan of his dad and he seems like a nice down-to-earth guy.
      Not sure about his speed, though. Honestly, at least five drivers had shown more outright talent than him this season, IMHO.

      1. @liko41 How do you get 5? Please don’t tell me you’ve included Mazepin.

        1. @wsrgo
          Actually I haven’t.
          I was thinking about Ilott, Schwartzman (or whatever way that name is written…), Tsunoda, Drugovich and Ticktum.

    12. Jose Lopes da Silva
      6th December 2020, 16:12

      Funny that Mick Schumacher made a mistake in a decisive battle championship, just like Michael did in 1994, 1998 e 2003. Hope he trashes Mazepin next year.

    13. A proud moment for all Indians with Jehan on the top step. The past precedence has not been good but it is a redemption. After a F1 team, a F1 track, F1 drivers, now a race winner is added to that.
      Congratulations to Mick.
      Well done Yuki.

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