Juri Vips (17, Estonia, Prema Powerteam) is the new ADAC Formula 4 champion. The Estonian finished third in the last race of the season at the Hockenheimring, which was enough to successfully defend his lead in the championship table from title rivals Marcus Armstrong (17, New Zealand, Prema Powerteam) and Felipe Drugovich (17, Brazil, Van Amersfoort Racing). Ultimately, newly crowned champion Vips and runner-up Armstrong were separated by just 4.5 points. Meanwhile, Drugovich finishes the campaign in third place by a margin of nine points.
Juri Vips has become the third driver in ADAC Formula 4 history to secure the championship title. Joey Mawson (21, Australia, Van Amersfoort Racing) won last year and Marvin Dienst (20, Germany) the year before that.
"It's incredible!" said an ecstatic Juri Vips. "All the hard work this year has paid off. We're going to celebrate today. It has been an incredibly intense season, with plenty of ups and downs. This weekend didn't go quite as we would have wished either, but it was enough in the end, and that's why I am so happy."
Russia's Artem Petrov (17, Van Amersfoort Racing) came home ahead of Armstrong and Vips on the day to claim a maiden ADAC Formula 4 win. Felipe Drugovich, who started the race from P10 on the grid, had to settle for fifth place despite going on a strong charge. Mick Wishofer (17, Austria, Lechner Racing) was not only Best Rookie again but also scored a point in the general classification by finishing tenth.
"The start was the key to success," said Petrov. "I then had a chance to overtake the two Prema guys and took it. I like driving here, and I'm very pleased with my win."
Louis Gachot (18, GB, Van Amersfoort Racing) took fourth place ahead of Felipe Drugovich, Cedric Piro (19, Germany, Team Piro Sports Interdental) and Sophia Flörsch (16, Germany, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.) in seventh - quite an achievement considering she had started from the rear of the grid. Positions eight to ten went to Oliver Söderström (19, Sweden, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.), Kim-Luis Schramm (20, Germany, US Racing) und rookie Mick Wishofer respectively.
The last race of the year was a microcosm of the whole season: thrills galore, fiercely contested and with many twists and turns before the final outcome. Initially, pole-sitter Marcus Armstrong successfully defended his pole position. Juri Vips, who had started from third on the grid, went straight past Cedric Piro into second. But while the two championship contenders in the Prema squad were locked in battle, Piro took advantage of the situation to move into the lead. Petrov also overtook Juri Vips, who suddenly found himself back in fourth. Meanwhile, at the front, Cedric Piro's lead was gradually being cut back and his pursuers, Armstrong and Petrov, were getting closer and closer.
But when Armstrong launched into an overtaking attempt, Russia's Petrov went past the New Zealander and previous race leader Piro on the outside. From that point on, he was determined not to let this chance of a debut win slip from his grasp. Petrov gradually built up a gap, and it was several more laps before Armstrong managed to get past Piro, by which stage it was too late to challenge the Russian. Not long after, Juri Vips overtook Piro and steered his car over the line in third.
Further comments on the ADAC Formula 4 race
Marcus Armstrong (championship runner-up, Prema Powerteam): "I'm feeling a lot of emotions at the moment, and of course, not all of them are positive. I so much wanted to win, and I also think that could have been the case today. It would have been possible to come away with the title. It's so hard getting this close and yet not winning it. On the other hand, I have to be satisfied, because it was my first season and we have been very successful. As I see it, we were the fastest in the whole field, even if we had problems this weekend. Unfortunately, we don't have the trophy that would have been well deserved."
Mick Wishofer (tenth and Best Rookie, Lechner Racing): "At last, I've managed to finish in the points. We've been working hard towards that. This has been one of my most difficult years, because we've been unable to do much testing. But despite that, we acquitted ourselves well. I put a lot of effort in to make sure things work properly."