Mick Schumacher has increased his lead in the Formula 2 standings with two rounds and four races to go after winning the feature race in Sochi, thanks also to good tyre management. For the stand-alone round in Russia (with no Formula 3) the P Zero Purple supersoft tyre was nominated for the first time since the season began in Austria, alongside the P Zero Yellow medium compound.
Feature Race, the winner: Prema’s Mick Schumacher scored his second feature race win from third on the grid, having moved up to second at the start. Leader Yuki Tsunoda (Carlin), Schumacher and third-placed Callum Ilott (UNI-Virtuosi) all pitted on lap eight to swap the supersoft tyres for the mediums. As the race wore on, Schumacher showed stronger pace and was able overtake Tsunoda on lap 19 of 28 to take the victory. Ilott just held onto third at the line ahead of Hitech’s Luca Ghiotto.
Mick Schumacher: “I think that we maximised what we had. The supersoft stint was a bit of a mess, especially the pit phase as I wanted to do another lap, but in the last sector I felt my rears going. I saw everybody else going in as well, so I opted to pit. On the medium tyre, we managed it pretty well, we were always in contention and we stayed with Yuki. With the traffic out there, we kind of all bunched together, but I managed to get the move done and I just had to manage the race from there.”
Feature Race, alternative strategy: Campos driver Jack Aitken, who started the race in eighth place, led those who began the race on the medium tyre. He pitted on lap 16 for the supersofts and finished up in sixth ahead of Hitech’s Nikita Mazepin and UNI-Virtuosi’s Guanyu Zhou, who he had managed to keep behind him in the middle of the race.
Sprint Race, the winner: Zhou took the sprint race win ahead of Mazepin after the race was red-flagged on lap seven for a big accident involving Aitken and Ghiotto in Turn 3: both drivers were unhurt. Schumacher was third. All the drivers used the medium tyre.
Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing Mario Isola: “Thermal management of the tyres was especially important in the warm conditions of Sochi, especially on the supersoft and at the end of the medium stints. Nonetheless, the supersoft showed good performance and good stint life, with some drivers able to extend their supersoft stints. With quite a performance gap between the two compounds there was some scope for some interesting strategy variations and this proved to be exactly the case, with split strategies seen in the feature race. The sprint race was officially only five laps long, but the main thing is that the drivers involved in the accident are fine, which shows the effectiveness of the safety measures on the cars and circuits. Congratulations to Mick Schumacher for two podiums in one weekend to extend his championship lead with just four races left in Bahrain.”
Image: Yuki Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher