Mick Schumacher, the Formula One-bound son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, clinched the Formula Two drivers’ championship title on Sunday.
India’s Jehan Daruvala won the race, taking his first F2 victory after Schumacher had flat-spotted a tyre on the first lap in his Prema car.
The 22-year-old Indian had earned his first Formula 2 podium last week after pipping Mick Schumacher in a gripping battle for the third place. He was the second runner up in the FIA Formula 3 Championship last year.
But despite finishing 18th in the final race of the season at the Bahrain International Circuit, ahead of Sunday’s later Sakhir Grand Prix, the German took the title by 14 points ahead of nearest rival Briton Callum Ilott, who finished 10th.
Daruvala, driving for Rayo Racing, had a good launch from second on the grid and was up alongside pole sitter Daniel Ticktum.
Ticktum squeezed Daruvala on the inside which allowed Schumacher to go around the outside of both of them. Eventually, Ticktum emerged in the lead, followed by Schumacher and Daruvala in third. A few corners later, the Indian made a good move to pass Schumacher and get into second position.
A few laps later, Schumacher passed him, to relegate him to third.
However, faruvala did not give up. A thrilling battled ensued and eventually the Indian got past Schumacher once again, to reclaim his second spot.
He then reeled off a series of quick laps to catch the race leader. However, he was unable to overtake and the battle for the lead intensified as Ticktum seemed desperate to win the last race of the season.
The Indian, however, kept his cool and maintained the pressure. Eventually with less than 10 laps to go, Daruvala made another fantastic move to get past Ticktum and grab the lead.
Thereafter, he drove well to slowly start opening up a gap and finally took the chequered flag to win his maiden FIA Formula 2 race.
Schumacher was third on the grid alongside Ilott and took second at the start, but fell back and after a pit-stop for new tyres had to rely on others finishing ahead of the Briton. Ilott, who needed to finish second to retain a title bid, fell down the order and finished 10th. Schumacher ended the season on 215 points and Ilott on 201.
Nikita Mazepin, his future team-mate at the Haas F1 team next year, finished fifth in the title race.
Schumacher said it was going to take time to sink in that he had won the title.
“I don’t really understand I am champion yet. It would sound a lot better if we did a good race today. Nevertheless, we are champions and people will forget this race and remember the good times this year.”
On Wednesday Schumacher said his childhood dream had come true with the announcement that he would follow his father into F1.
“I’m happy it’s been decided – I have been chasing this dream since I was three years old.”
Schumacher and Mazepin replace Haas’s current driver pairing of Romain Grosjean – who escaped a fiery crash in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix - and Kevin Magnussen.
Schumacher has shone in Formula Two this season after achieving 10 podium finishes and feature-race victories at Monza and Sochi.
He will get a taste of what is needed at the elite level when he takes part in Haas’ free practice ahead of the 2020 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 11 before participating in testing a few days later.
With AFP Inputs