Lirim Zendeli has this year’s ADAC Formula 4 Championship well under control so far.
At the second round at Hockenheim, the young German started the first race on Saturday from Pole Position.
They didn’t get to race for long before the Safety Car was deployed. The two teammates Niklas Krütten and Leon Köhler crashed on the first lap, with Joey Alders also being involved, by avoiding the crash with the two pink ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V cars. Alders ended up running over his own front wing, which had been hit during the avoidance. Köhler received a 10-grid penalty for the following race, being judged as the one responsible for the collision.
The race was resumed seven minutes later. After just half a lap of running, Zendeli’s teammate, Mick Wishofer starting swapping positions. But that ended prematurely, when Wishofer ran into the rear tire of Zendeli, taking his own front wing off the car.
Lucas Alecco Roy was hit by Ido Cohen, so the former lost his rear wing assembly and had to retire. Cohen was able to continue.
Liam Lawson was the new main competitor to Zendeli but didn’t make it past at any point. Oliver Caldwell ended the race in third.
Frederik Vesti, who is the main competitor to Zendeli in the Championship, had a bad qualifying, only starting race 1 from 8th, and gained just two positions during the race, even though he put Enzo Fittipaldi in P5 under a lot of pressure.
Vesti started race 2 from P3, and was able to keep the position all the way through, after battling hard with his teammate Liam Lawson all race long. Especially the final laps of the race was very intense, with the two drivers driving side by side several times through the corners.
Zendeli also started race 2 from Pole Position, while Lawson was starting second. Those two would also keep positions all race long. And on top of that, Charles Weerts in P4 did exactly the same. Only David Schumacher starting P5 fell back, breaking the norm, after being a battle with Jack Doohan, son of the former Motorcycle World Champion Mick Doohan.
A bit further down the field, we saw troubles on Lap 1. Leonardo Lorandi and Enzo Fittipaldi hit each other in Turn 3, while Oliver Caldwell only avoided the two by a a few centimetres. That resulted in a Safety Car to get the cars removed. Lorandi received a 10 grid penalty for the Sunday race, for pushing Fittipaldi off, and right into a polystyrene commercial, making it into a thousand small pieces.
Other than that, it was a very calm race 2, without major action. There was so close fights, but not many overtakes.
Race 3 delivered a lot more action. The starting grid for that race was based on the finishing positions in race 2, but being reversed.
Niklas Krütten started from Pole Position ahead of Mick Wishofer and Jack Doohan, but there was quite a bit of position changes here.
The four VAR cars was side by side through the first corners, while the fifth wasn’t far behind. There wasn’t much team driving, with the drivers almost falling over each other, instead of trying to go after drivers from other teams ahead of them.
Frederik Vesti had lost three positions during the first lap, and only regained one during the 30 minutes race. So a disappointing P8 for him in the third race of the weekend.
Wishofer was able to get past Krütten, outbraking the latter ahead of the Mercedes Tribune.
Andreas Estner received a drive-through penalty for hitting Aaron di Comberti in the hairpin. Estner however ended up parking the car in the pits, since he was far behind anyway.
Leon Köhler and Joey Alders hit each other in the Motodrom section, sending the latter through the gravel.
Lawson and Zendeli were battling hard over fifth, but it took Zendeli a lot of laps to get past. But he did show champions like driving by getting past and then passing Weerts and Doohan too, making it onto the podium.
David Schumacher received a drive-through penalty for track limits. Especially one episode in Turn 1, where he defending his position against Vesti by running way too wide, being able to keep his foot flat on the throttle, was a breach of the track limits.
Mick Wishofer (US Racing – CHRS) won the race ahead of Niklas Krütten (ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. Mücke Motorsport) and Lirim Zendeli (US Racing – CHRS), before a mix of VAR and Prema cars in the shape of Weerts (VAR), Doohan (Prema), Lawson (VAR), Fittipaldi (Prema), Vesti (VAR), Petecof (Prema), Caldwell (Prema), Alders (VAR) and Roy (VAR).
So Lirim Zendeli has a very healthy lead in the Championship with 4 race wins out of 6. Only Race 3 hasn’t been as good for the talented German driver, but that is the heat were the best placed from Race 2 is put back in the field. Frederik Vesti is second, but he’s already 50 points behind Zendeli – that is two full races! Enzo Fittipaldi, Liam Lawson, Charles Weerts and Mick Wishofer are all within six points of Vesti.
US Racing – CHRS still leads the Teams Championship, followed by Van Amersfoort Racing and Prema Theodore Racing.
The next round of ADAC Formula 4 will be run at the Lausitzring in two weeks’ time, where the series will once again support the DTM.