Robert Shwartzman led a PREMA Racing 1-2 ahead of teammate Mick Schumacher in an action-packed Formula 2 Sprint Race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

It was the Russian driver’s third win of the season, and with chief title rival Callum Ilott being spun into retirement on the opening lap by Saturday’s Feature Race winner Yuki Tsunoda, it returned the Ferrari Academy driver to the lead of the Drivers’ Championship standings.

Shwartzmanwas handed the lead of the race thanks to an early collision between reversed-grid pole-sitter Roy Nissany and his fellow Williams Formula 1 junior Dan Ticktum.

Nissany made a decent start off the line, but he was quickly overhauled by Ticktum who rocketed his DAMS off the line from third on the grid to lead the field out of La Source.  Nissany held on in Ticktum’s slipstream through Eau Rouge and Raidillon, reclaiming the lead from the Briton at Les Combes.

Further down the order, disaster struck for Ilott when he was punted into a spin and instant retirement by Tsunoda.  The Japanese driver found himself out of position after a scrappy opening lap, running wide at La Source and losing several positions.  Perhaps too keen to make up ground quickly, Tsunoda made a half-hearted move on Ilott and the Carlin driver earned a five-second penalty for his troubles.

Ilott’s stranded car triggered a brief Safety Car intervention and the race resumed on Lap 4.

Ticktum sought to capitalise at the restart and attempted to overtake Nissany around the outside at Les Combes.  Nissany held his ground and forced Ticktum into the run-off, but Ticktum instead bounced over the sausage kerbs and into the side of the Israeli, turfing his Trident into the barriers.  Through the melee, Shwartzman nipped through into the lead of the race.

Nissany’s battered car triggered another Safety Car, while Ticktum was left under a cloud of further sanction by the FIA Stewards and to fight the rest of the race with a damaged front wing.

Ticktum, suffering from a lack of front downforce, was immediately passed by Louis Delétraz at La Source at the restart, but overtook the Swiss driver on the run to Les Combes.

Delétrazwas unable to retaliate and had quickly overcooked his tyres, falling down through the field.

Guanyu Zhou now moved into third place in the sole UNI-Virtuosi, but quickly found himself under attack by Shwartzman’s teammate Mick Schumacher, who overtook the Chinese driver with a neat DRS-assisted move at Les Combes.

As Shwartzman built a comfortable lead out front, Ticktum quickly came under assault by Schumacher who bided his time and waited for an error from Ticktum.  A lock-up at La Source was all the invitation he needed, using his superior speed to move into second place along the Kemmel Straight.  Zhou followed by one lap later, claiming the final spot on the podium from Ticktum.

The top three ran in that order to the chequered flag, while the main action came courtesy of Ticktum’s determined but ultimately fruitless defence.  Hitech teammates Nikita Mazepin and Luca Ghiotto both moved ahead into fourth and fifth respectively, with Delétraz, Christian Lundgaard and Artem Markelov – scoring his first points’ finish of his comeback – claiming the final points positions.

Ticktum fell back to ninth place, ending the day out of the points.

Shwartzman’s victory hands him the lead of the Drivers’ Championship standings, with 132 points to Ilott’s 122.  Tsunoda remains in third on 111, with Schumacher fourth and Mazepin in fifth.

In the Teams’ Championship, PREMA remains first with 238 points, ahead of UNI-Virtuosi (214) and Hitech Grand Prix (152).

The Formula 2 Championship resumes next weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

2020 FIA Formula 2 Championship – Spa-Francorchamps Sprint Race Final Classification (18 laps)
Driver Team / Entry Laps Result Pts
1. Robert Shwartzman Prema Racing 18 42:44.391 17
2. Mick Schumacher Prema Racing 18 + 9.025 12
3. Guan Yu Zhou UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Logo 18 + 11.193 10
4. Nikita Mazepin Hitech Grand Prix 18 + 20.495 8
5. Luca Ghiotto Hitech Grand Prix 18 + 21.907 6
6. Louis Delétraz Charouz Racing System 18 + 25.182 4
7. Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 18 + 26.796 2
8. Artem Markelov BWT HWA Racelab 18 + 30.492 1
9. Yuki Tsunoda Carlin Motorsport 18 + 30.559
10. Dan Ticktum DAMS 18 + 32.126
11. Jüri Vips DAMS 18 + 32.331
12. Pedro Piquet Charouz Racing System 18 + 32.832
13. Felipe Drugovich MP Motorsport 18 + 33.041
14. Giuliano Alesi BWT HWA Racelab 18 + 33.448
15. Guilherme Samaia Campos Racing 18 + 34.729
16. Jehan Daruvala Carlin Motorsport 18 + 44.078
17. Jack Aitken Campos Racing 18 + 1:16.304
Not Classified Team / Entry Laps Reason
DNF. Marino Sato Trident Racing 13 Collision
DNF. Marcus Armstrong ART Grand Prix 9 Fire Extinguisher
DNF. Roy Nissany Trident Racing 3 Collision
DNF. Callum Ilott UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Logo 0 Collision
DNS. Nobuhara Matsushita MP Motorsport Withdrawn

Championship Points:

  • Championship points are awarded on the results of the Final Classification of each Sprint Race to the race’s top-eight finishers and their corresponding teams on a 15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 sliding scale.
  • Two bonus points are awarded to the driver finishing in the top-ten (Robert Shwartzman) and their corresponding team (PREMA Racing) for posting the fastest lap of the race by a top-ten finisher.

Post-Race Penalties:

  • Yuki Tsunoda received a 5-second time penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Callum Ilott.

Images via FIA Formula 2 Championship

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Geoff Burke

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