Enzo Fittipaldi (16, Brazil, Prema Theodore Racing) and Lirim Zendeli (18, Germany, USA Racing CHRS) were the winners of the first two of three ADAC Formula 4 races at the Red Bull Ring. Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, claimed a lights-to-flag first win of the season. Zendeli, who leads the championship at the halfway stage, secured win number six of the season in a second race that was punctuated by safety car deployments.
In the afternoon, the championship leader got off to a great start from third on the grid to overtake pole-sitter Fittipaldi just a few turns into the proceedings. David Schumacher (16, Germany, US Racing CHRS) started from second place but had to retire after a collision with Charles Weerts (17, Belgium, Van Amersfoort Racing) on the opening lap. This brought out the safety car. At the restart, Zendeli confidently reasserted his lead and went on to win the race ahead of Fittipaldi and Mick Wishofer (18, Austria, US Racing CHRS), who was delighted to make a podium appearance in front of his home crowd at Spielberg.
"I've scored useful points again," said 18-year-old Zendeli, who has increased his lead in the drivers' standings to 49 points after two of the three races this weekend.
Oliver Caldwell (15, Great Britain, Prema Theodore Racing) narrowly missed out on a podium, finishing ahead of fifth-placed Frederik Vesti (16, Denmark, Van Amersfoort Racing). Liam Lawson (16, New Zealand, Van Amersfoort Racing), Zendeli's closest rival in the table, improved from twelfth to sixth, crossing the line ahead of Niklas Krütten (15, Germany, ADAC Berlin Brandenburg e.V) who finished the afternoon as Best Rookie and moved back into the lead ahead of Schumacher in this particular classification. In eighth place was Andreas Estner (17, Germany, Neuhauser Racing). Also in the points were the two rookies Leon Köhler (18, Germany, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.) and Ido Cohen (16, Israel, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.).
Race 1: Start-to-finish victory for Fittipaldi
Fittipaldi's maiden ADAC Formula 4 win came in brilliant sunshine on Saturday morning. The youngster, who drives for the Italian Prema Theodore Racing outfit, crossed the finish line in front of Vesti and Lawson and moved up to third in the championship: "After the pole yesterday, I knew we had the pace to win. The championship still remains open, as far as I am concerned. We're not going to give up; we'll keep fighting and scoring as many points as possible."
Best Rookie in the morning was David Schumacher, son of former Formula 1 driver Ralf, who finished sixth overall. "The race was OK, but unfortunately I lost a position. At least the lap times were respectable. These are further important points towards the rookie classification, so I'm totally satisfied."
Zendeli narrowly missed out on the Top Three, while Charles Weerts was fifth. Rookie Gianluca Petecof (15, Brazil, Prema Theodore Racing) took the flag in seventh place, ahead of Caldwell, local favourite Wishofer and Lucas Alecco Roy (21, Monaco, Van Amersfoort Racing).
The fourth weekend of the 2018 ADAC Formula 4 reaches its conclusion on Sunday with the third race (09:50 CEST) in which the reverse grid rule applies. Andreas Estner's P8 in the second race promotes him to pole position, while Zendeli is obliged to start from eighth. SPORT1 is providing live TV coverage of the action from the fourth season of the ADAC High-Speed Academy. Alternatively, it can be watched online via the free livestreams on sport1.de, adac.de/motorsport and youtube.com/adac.
Further comments on ADAC Formula 4 Saturday
Mick Wishofer (US Racing CHRS, third in the second race): "You always come here to win. The weekend has not gone as well as we had hoped. But my target for this race was a podium, and that's what I got. I made a few small mistakes, which meant the two front-runners could no longer be caught. Winning the title remains the ultimate objective."
Niklas Krütten (ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V., Best Rookie in the second race): "It's very important to be up here on the podium again. David was very fast in free practice and qualifying, but the fact that he had to retire from the race obviously worked in my favour. It enabled me to secure yet another victory in the rookie class. It's now got quite tight again at the top of the table. We have to carry on achieving consistently good results and not make any silly mistakes, and we certainly can't afford any DNFs."