Formula 1 flair for the young drivers on the North Sea coast. Andrea Kimi Antonelli leads the championship with seven victories at the halfway point. Two podiums for Charlie Wurz.
A first for Conrad Laursen (Prema Racing): The Dane celebrated his first victory in ADAC Formula 4 in the ninth race of the season, which took place at Circuit Zandvoort and featured on the support programme for the ADAC GT Masters. Andrea Kimi Antonelli (15/Prema Racing) and Charlie Wurz (17/Prema Racing) from Austria joined him on the podium. In the morning, Italy’s Antonelli had claimed his seventh win of the season, while Rafael Camara (17/BRA/Prema Racing) and Wurz finished second and third. “I am overjoyed and delighted with the win. Particularly as Kimi really put me under pressure in the final few laps. The tyres were pretty trashed and I lost a lot of time as a result, but I was able to hold on to first place,” said the 16-year-old. Formula 1 flair came courtesy of two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi and former Ferrari driver Luca Badoer. Their sons, Emerson Fittipaldi jr. (15/BRA) and Brando Badoer (15/ITA), drive for the Dutch team Van Amersfoort Racing this season. Wurz was also able to call on the support of his father, former Formula 1 driver Alex Wurz.
The drivers from 14 different countries contested Sunday morning’s race under an overcast sky and in temperatures around 17 degrees Celsius. Pole-sitter Antonelli made a good start at the 4.259-kilometre Formula 1 circuit, holding off Camara to defend first place. The safety car made two appearances in the first six laps, but the Mercedes junior was wide awake at the re-starts. Over the course of the 30-minute race, Antonelli gradually opened a lead over Camara and Wurz, before taking the chequered flag and victory. Australian James Wharton (15/Prema Racing) was fourth, with Nikita Bedrin (16/ITA/PHM Racing) completing the top five.
The reverse grid rule added an extra dose of excitement to race nine of the season. The first eight from the previous race lined up in reverse order, meaning Fittipaldi jr. started from pole for the first time. In sunshine and 22 degrees Celsius, he was able to defend the lead at first. However, Laursen pulled off the decisive overtaking manoeuvre just a few corners into the race. Behind him, a spectacular battle for the remaining podium places was developing. Antonelli started the race from eighth and was embroiled in a thrilling dual with Laursen on the final lap. However, the championship leader was unable to find a way past and ended the race just 0.058 seconds behind Laursen. “I was really close to making it three wins, but did not quite push hard enough in the first part of the race. I did try to overtake Conrad, but did not want to take any risks. Second place is a great end to the weekend,” said Antonelli. With 205 points to his name, Antonelli leads the championship at the halfway point of the season.
Third across the finish line was Wurz, who was pleased with his third podium of the season. “That was a great race, I really had a lot of fun. I took a big risk with some of the overtaking manoeuvres, but it paid off in the end. On the whole, the day was fantastic, with the two third places,” said a beaming Wurz. Taylor Barnard (18/PHM Racing) came home fourth in his 180-hp Formula 4 car. Behind the Brit at the demanding circuit in the dunes was Camara. The winner from Spa-Francorchamps was the best driver in the rookie competition. Wharton, Bedrin and Martinius Stenshorne (16/NOR/Van Amersfoort Racing) followed the youngster from the Ferrari Driver Academy home. Finland’s Rasmus Joutsimies (19/Jenzer Motorsport) finished ninth to claim his best result of the season, with Fittipaldi jr. tenth.
The next race weekend in the ADAC’s high-speed school will again share the bill with the German GT Championship. Round four of the season takes place from 5th to 7th August at the iconic Nürburgring in the Eifel region.