Lirim Zendeli has done it! He is now the 2018 champion  Photo: ADAC Formel 4
Lirim Zendeli has done it! He is now the 2018 champion Photo: ADAC Formel 4

Zendeli seals championship title at Nürburgring

P5 enough to give him title before end of season

Rookie Krütten wins 17th round of the ADAC Formula 4. Schumacher maintains lead in Rookie classification.

Lirim Zendeli (18, Germany, US Racing CHRS) has won the ADAC Formula 4 championship and is now the fourth driver to hold the title in the ADAC High-Speed Academy following the success of Marvin Dienst (Germany, 2015), Joey Mawson (Australia, 2016) and Juri Vips (Estonia, 2017). Champion Zendeli finished fifth in the third race of the penultimate race weekend at the Nürburgring, which was enough to give him an unassailable lead in the overall standings. The race was won by rookie Niklas Krütten (15, Germany, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.), who celebrated his maiden win in the ADAC Formula 4 and also scored points in the Rookie classification.

Both Krütten and Zendeli were overcome with emotion. "It's amazing! Of course, my goal was to go out and win the title in my third year in Formula 4, but to have done it here in my home race and during the penultimate weekend is just mega. I can now go out and really enjoy the races at Hockenheim," said the new champion. "As for me, I'm very pleased about my maiden win in the ADAC Formula 4, which means a lot to me, and I intend to build on that success," said Krütten. "I was a bit nervous but always managed to keep Petecof at arm's length while simply trying to keep every lap free of mistakes."

Rookie Gianluca Petecof (15, Brazil, Prema Theodore Racing) finished second behind Krütten, giving the young Brazilian his best result of the season. Enzo Fittipaldi (17, Brazil/USA, Prema Theodore Racing) was third and moves into second place in the overall standings as a result.

Charles Weerts (17, Belgium, Van Amersfoort Racing) finished fourth ahead of newly crowned champion Zendeli and Frederik Vesti (16, Denmark, Van Amersfoort Racing). Oliver Caldwell (16, Great Britain, Prema Theodore Racing) was seventh. Rookies David Schumacher (16, Germany, US Racing CHRS), Ido Cohen (16, Israel, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.) and Lucas Alecco Roy (21, Germany, Van Amersfoort Racing) rounded off the Top Ten.

Zendeli had begun the race seventh on the grid, 81 points up on his rival, Liam Lawson (16, New Zealand, Van Amersfoort Racing). The German knew from the outset that he was in a comfortable position and drove in a controlled manner in the top group of drivers. At the front of the field, Niklas Krütten overtook pole-sitter Leon Köhler (18, Germany, ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.) right at the start to take the lead.

The safety car came out on track just as the race had begun when Joey Alders (18, Netherlands, Van Amersfoort Racing) span into the gravel. Liam Lawson had to pit at this point while still in second place in the standings and with a chance of catching Zendeli. He subsequently dropped way down the field as a result.

Krütten kept his nerve and the lead on the restart, but Köhler fell back down the field, so Petecof and Fittipaldi took over the pursuit of Krüttens. However, the two Prema drivers were unable to reel in the German rookie.

Zendeli was also in the pack hunting down Krütten but kept out of harm's way and was able to calmly lift the championship title. Vesti, Fittipaldi and Lawson will battle it out for the position of runner-up in this season's remaining three races. In the Rookie classification, Niklas Krütten reduced the gap on David Schumacher, the son of former Formula 1 and DTM driver Ralf Schumacher, to less than 20 points.

More comments about the ADAC Formula 4

Gianluca Petecof (Second, Prema Theodore Racing): "I'm very pleased with my race and maiden podium. Unfortunately, I couldn't get past Niklas but am still very happy nevertheless. The past two race weekends have been excellent. My goal at Hockenheim is to build on that success."

Enzo Fittipaldi (Third, Prema Theodore Racing): "The race was good. Our pace was also good. I'm very pleased. It's been a great weekend. I achieved three podiums, racked up plenty of points in the process and am now second in the overall standings. That's why I'm really looking forward to Hockenheim!"

2018 Season