Seventh round of German Formula 4 in Oschersleben was extremely important for the drivers as the races took place in the same weekend as DTM series. All F4 youngsters knew they are watched by the huge teams and junior programs bosses. Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport vice-president himself made a visit to Motorsport Arena track and paid attention to the first ADAC Formel 4 race.
The nerves were running high before the start. Too high perhaps for the pole-setter Janneau Esmeijer who failed to find his starting position after formation lap. The Netherlands driver decided to keep moving so the stewards had to send the whole field for one more formation lap. Couple of minutes later they forced Esmeijer to start from pit lane instead of P1.
It was a very strict penalty considering the field of 35 cars but the discipline is discipline. The pole-position of the first race remained empty.
More drivers couldn't stand the pressure during start. One of the title contenders Joey Mawson stalled on the grid as did one of Mucke Motorsports driver David Beckmann. Both drivers became standing chicanes for their opponents. Luckily no one crashed into their cars and the race went on without any safety car appearance.
Robert Shwartzman was one of the best drivers to gain 6 positions towards the first corner. Started from P9, Shwartzman avoided Mawson’s car and was already in third position on the brakes to the first corner. Michael Waldherr missed the breaking point and almost caused a crash. Shwartzman wisely moved out of his way but only to re-take this 3rd position later on in the race.
As for the championship leaders, Joel Eriksson managed to keep his first position. Marvin Dienst wasn’t able to keep up in Eriksson’s pace but was enough fast not to allow Shwartzman to approach.
The live broadcast producer's attention was enchained to Mick Schumacher. The son of seven-time world champion remembered his Oschersleben victory earlier in this season very well. Mick was fast and successfully overtook some of his opponents in the first laps of the race. Schumacher took P4 and gained on Shwartzman who managed to create a solid 3-seconds gap in the middle of the distance.
Mick was the fastest man on track in the second half of the race. His best lap was only 0.019 slower than Eriksson’s result. Schumacher reached Shwartzman when there were 2 laps remaining but the Russian driver was confident and didn’t give his 3rd position to Van Amersfoort Racing driver.
This podium was 8th in the German championship for Shwartzman. Schumacher was able to taste the champagne as well as he became the best rookie driver in the race.
It must be mentioned that no safety car periods were necessary during the race. Indeed, maybe the young drivers wanted to make a good impression to those team bosses and especially Norbert Haug in person. However, not all of the driver are that young: Joel Eriksson is already 17 years old, Marvin Dienst will soon be 19, same as his unlucky teammate Janneau Esmeijer.
As for Shwartzman and Schumacher, these are two of the youngest drivers in the field: both of them are just 16 this year.
Marvin Dienst is still the leader of the ADAC Formula 4 championship even though he lost some valuable points to his main rival Joel Eriksson. Joey Mawson is still in the third place, Robert Shwartzman keeps his fourth with a huge advantage of 43 points to Esmeijer.
Mick Schumacher is now close to top 10. He is also 3rd in the rookie championship rankings right behind Mucke Motorsports drivers David Beckmann and Mike Ortmann.
Joel Eriksson (17, SWE, Motopark), Winner: "A victory at long last - and especially here in the home race for my team Motopark. It couldn't have gone any better. I got off to a good start and immediately put a few metres between myself and my pursuers. My plan was clear - to pull out a big lead and then hold the gap steady to the cars behind. That worked out a treat. My car was really super, and I never had any doubt that I was going to win. From the midway point of the race, I eased off slightly and conserved my tyres."
Marvin Dienst (18, DEU, HTP Junior Team), Second: "Things didn't go too well for me today, starting with qualifying. With so little time between qualifying and the race itself, any significant improvement was unlikely. Our car isn't quite as strong as it was at the Sachsenring, which made the situation here much more of a struggle. I took it relatively easy at the start and tried to keep the gap to the front and to the rear fairly constant. Overtaking is difficult at Oschersleben anyway, and I was about as fast as Joel or possibly a bit slower. In the circumstances, an attack would just have ruined my tyres. Now I've lost a few points to Joel in the championship. Nonetheless, this second place is a creditable and important result."
Robert Shwartzman (15, RUS, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Third: "I'm very pleased to have made it onto the podium again. My start was really good. It was a bit tricky, because two of my opponents were stationary in front of me, but fortunately, I was able to avoid them. From this moment on, I held on to fourth place and was posting the same times as the race leaders. When Michael Waldherr made an error just ahead of me, I went past him and secured third place. It was only towards the end that I noticed Mick was catching up from behind. He was fast, but I was able to defend my position."
Mick Schumacher (16, DEU, Van Amersfoort Racing), best-placed rookie & P4.: "My race was good. There were some tough battles, that was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, my tyres started to degrade towards the end of the race, otherwise I might have been able to mount another attack. Now I'll concentrate on the two races tomorrow and try to go on the attack again."
Janneau Esmeijer (18, NL, HTP Junior Team), P13.: "I am really very disappointed. I was focused on warming up my rear tyres ahead of the start and missed my box. I didn't know what to do, and my team were unable to help me at that moment. So there was another formation lap, and I then had had to start from the pit lane. Thanks to my super car, I worked my way up the field and gained 20 positions, but that was only a small consolation. Tomorrow, I'll be starting from pole position again, and it must surely go better this time."