Antonelli wins despite early safety car phase. Conrad Laursen takes third spot on podium after thrilling battle. Top ten for Dutch driver Maya Weug at her home event.
Lights-to-flag victory for Andrea Kimi Antonelli (Prema Racing) in Zandvoort: The Italian raced to his sixth win of the ADAC Formula 4 season at the Formula 1 circuit. Not even a safety car could bring him out of his stride. Runner-up was Antonelli’s team-mate Rafael Camara (17) from Brazil, who was also the best-placed rookie. Conrad Laursen (16/DNK) hung onto third place to make the podium an all Prema Racing affair. “The early safety car was not ideal for me, as it immediately wiped out the little lead I had established. Despite this, I got off well at the re-start and was then able to pull clear. The win gives me a lot of confidence for Sunday’s races,” said the 15-year-old. Among the spectators at the circuit in the Dutch dunes was Emerson Fittipaldi: The two-time Formula 1 world champion was there to cheer on his son Emerson Fittipaldi jr. (15/BRA/Van Amersfoort Racing). Luca Badoer, another former driver in the pinnacle of motorsport, was also trackside at Circuit Zandvoort to follow his son Brando Badoer (15/ITA/Van Amersfoort Racing).
The ADAC’s high-speed school is making its first appearance of the 2022 season on the support programme for the ADAC GT Masters. In front of big crowds and in glorious sunshine and 22 degrees Celsius, Antonelli was the first to turn one, benefitting from starting from pole position. As early as lap two, the safety car was called into action at the 4.259-kilometre track on the North Sea coast. As a result, the field, consisting of drivers from 14 different countries, initially remained bunched together. When the drivers were able to put pedal to the metal again, Antonelli held his nerve and fended off the pressure from Camara. The Mercedes junior never looked back and went on to take the chequered flag at the end of the 30-minute race. Camara followed him home in second place as the best rookie. “My start was not ideal, and Kimi was simply quicker on the gas than me after the safety car too. After that, I settled into the race better. I am happy with second place,” said the driver from the Ferrari Driver Academy.
Laursen’s pursuit of the final spot on the podium went down to the final seconds, as a four-way battle for third place developed in the closing stages. Nikita Bedrin (ITA/PHM Racing) attempted an overtaking manoeuvre on the final lap, but the 16-year-old could find no way past the Dane in third place. “I had issues with the grip all race. However, Zandvoort is a track, at which you can still compete at the front despite having some minor problems. I was under a huge amount of pressure from the drivers behind me. Given all the circumstances, I am really happy with the third place,” said Laursen. Bedrin followed him home in fourth place. Australian James Wharton (15/Prema Racing) was the second-best rookie, finishing fifth in the 180-hp Formula 4 car.
The final few laps also saw Taylor Barnard (18/PHM Racing) get involved in the battle for the podium. The Brit eventually crossed the finish line in seventh place. Charlie Wurz (17/Prema Racing) lost contact with the field at the start. However, watched on by his father, former F1 driver Alex Wurz, the Austrian fought back strongly to end the seventh race of this season’s high-speed school in seventh place. The best-placed Van Amersfoort Racing driver at the team’s home event was Norwegian Martinius Stenshorne (16) in eighth. Maya Weug (18/Iron Dames) claimed a fine ninth place – her best result of the season so far – in front of her home crowd. Emerson Fittipaldi jr. ended Saturday’s race in tenth place. The best of the Germans was Bad Mergentheim’s Valentin Kluss (PHM Racing) in eleventh. At just 15, the ADAC Stiftung Sport driver is the youngest in this season’s field.
Two ADAC Formula 4 races are scheduled for Sunday. Antonelli starts the first race from pole position at 09:20. The lights go green for race nine of the season at 16:30, when the reverse grid rule means the top eight drivers from race two will line up in reverse order. All the races in the ADAC’s junior series are streamed live and free at motorsport.tv and adac.de/motorsport.