Mick Schumacher won the Formula 2 championship despite finishing in 18th place in a dramatic final race at the Sakhir Grand Prix.
The future Haas F1 driver only needed to score three points to secure the title as he led rival Callum Ilott by 14 points with a maximum 17 available in the sprint race on Sunday. Starting one place ahead of Ilott in third, Schumacher made a good start but was fighting for second into Turn 4 when he suffered a massive lock-up that damaged his right-front tire.
“What a stupid thing to do at the fourth turn of the race…” the German rued afterwards.
From there, the Prema driver was facing an uphill battle, and after briefly overtaking Jehan Daruvala for second place with an excellent move around the outside of Turn 6, he was unable to close the gap to pole-sitter Dan Ticktum in the DAMS and dropped back to third soon after.
Schumacher did well to hold Ilott off for a number of laps but the vibrations from his tires were getting bigger until he eventually lost three places in one lap and was forced to pit. The sprint race does not require a mandatory stop and most drivers complete the race in one stint, meaning Schumacher was out of points contention and the door was open for Ilott.
In order to take the title, Ilott — now running third — needed to either win or finish second with the fastest lap, and he set off after the top two of Ticktum and Daruvala but couldn’t bridge the four-second gap that had opened up due to Schumacher’s earlier defending.
As the race wore on, Ilott started to struggle with his tires and dropped back through the field, eventually finishing 10th and outside the points as Schumacher was crowned champion in 18th.
Just taking a moment ❤️
Yes @SchumacherMick, you really are #F2 champion! 🏆🎉#SakhirGP 🇧🇭 #RoadToF1 pic.twitter.com/JWSUORFTJ6
— Formula 2 (@FIA_F2) December 6, 2020
Daruvala — driving for Carlin — was able to look after his tires better than Ticktum and overtook the Briton with 10 laps remaining, with the Indian easing away to his first F2 victory at the end of his rookie season. Ticktum tried to be tactical with DRS usage as Tsunoda closed in, but after letting the second Carlin driver pass one lap from the end and regaining second into Turn 1, Ticktum couldn’t hold on and locked up into the final corner as Tsunoda swept by to make it a Carlin one-two.
The result saw Tsunoda finish just one point behind Ilott in the final standings and he is expected to join both new Haas pair Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin — who finished ninth — in Formula 1 next season with AlphaTauri.
As a result of his victory, Schumacher steps up to F1 with titles in Formula 3 (2018) and Formula 2 to his name.