The final Championship positions in the ADAC Formula 4 2018 were decided at Hockenheim.
It was already clear that Lirim Zendeli had won the title even before the weekend, but it was still to be decided if Liam Lawson, Enzo Fittipaldi or Frederik Vesti would finish second.
Lawson started out with the upper hand, since he took Pole Position for Race 1 ahead of Zendeli, Fittipaldi and Charles Weerts. We had to go all the way back to P12 to find Vesti, who was facing a tough race.
Niklas Krütten and David Schumacher were fighting each other in the Rookie Championship, and nothing was decided ahead of the weekend.
Zendeli took the start, but went a bit wide at Turn 1, so Lawson regained the lead.
Leon Köhler was pushed off the track at Turn 2 by Oliver Caldwell, while Lucas Alecco Roy spun at the hairpin, after contact with Gianluca Petecof.
Mick Wishofer had a detour at the final corner, going over the gravel and grass. Gianluca Petecof punctured at the start of the second lap, and therefore was effectively out of the race.
Charles Weerts fought his way into third position, ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi.
Caio Collet made a very late dive on Wishofer, which made Vesti go past both, going into 5th.
Lirim Zendeli lost the lead of the race, when he was handed a drive-through penalty due to inaccurate grid position. That handed the lead to Lawson, ahead of Weerts and Vesti.
Alecco Roy received a drive-through too, since he didn’t respect track limits.
Zendeli was racing towards the front of the field again, slicing through the field like a hot knife through butter.
With 10 minutes to go, Weerts took the lead.
Schumacher and Fittipaldi had a close fight for 5th, where the former tried to outbrake Fittipaldi, but ended up outbraking himself.
Lawson and Vesti had a tough fight for P2, where Vesti outbraked himself, but kept third place.
Krütten got a drive-though for pushing another driver off the track. That was something that really hurt his Rookie points.
Race 1 finished with a Van Amersfoort Racing 1-2-3, with Liam Lawson ahead of Charles Weerts and Frederik Vesti.
Race 2 was run Saturday afternoon, with Lawson on Pole ahead of Fittipaldi, Zendeli and Vesti.
Zendeli made a good start, and was already second in Turn 1.
Further back in the field, Schumacher was hit by Alecco Roy, which broke the rear wing plus punctured Schumacher’s car.
Vesti had to retire on the very first lap, after contact with Fittipaldi. Fittipaldi managed to drive the car back to the pits, but had to park the car there.
All the mess resulted in a Safety Car period, so the cars and debris could be cleaned.
7 minutes later we were racing again, with Zendeli ahead of Lawson and Collet.
The race was pretty static with very limited overtaking, but a few tried to do so.
With 10 minutes to go that changed, with Collet and Weerts swapping positions a few times, so the new Rookie for this weekend made it past the Race 1 winner.
Even though Schumacher was at the back of the field, Krütten wasn’t able to score enough points, resulting in David Schumacher winning the Rookie Championship.
Mick Wishofer and Liam Lawson had a close fight for second, where Wishofer actually had made it into second, but then outbraked himself at the hairpin.
Lirim Zendeli won race two ahead of Mick Wishofer and Liam Lawson.
Race 3 was run Sunday afternoon, and that was with Niklas Krütten on Pole Position ahead of Gianluca Petecof, Leon Köhler, Caio Collet, Charles Weerts, Liam Lawson, Mick Wishofer and Lirim Zendeli. Frederik Vesti was starting the race from 16th and final position, after having retired from Race 2.
The start went quite calm F4 terms – let alone being the season finale.
That all changed on the second lap, where Petecof first made it into the lead, but was then overtaken by Weerts, becoming the new leader.
Mick Wishofer had a trip over the grass in the final turn, which send him towards the back of the field, before he got solid tarmac under his wheels again.
Halfway through the race we had Weerts leading Zendeli, Köhler, Petecof, Collet, Schumacher and Lawson.
Vesti, Schumacher and Lawson had a collision, which send Lawson up on two wheels, but landed on all 4 wheels again. Vesti gained from it, and was into 6th position.
Collet lost a position to both Vesti and Schumacher one lap later, while Fittipaldi made it past the Brazilian Rookie only a few corners later.
Zendeli took the lead of the race with 12 minutes to go, and didn’t look back.
Vesti fell back through the field, with just 10 minutes to go.
Fittipaldi was hit by Joey Alders at the hairpin, which sent the Brazilian into a spin, and costing Alders the front wing.
US Racing – CHRS driver Tom Beckhäuser was almost crashing into the rear of teammate Petr Ptacek.
Extra excitement was added with just 7 minutes to go of the race, when it started to rain.
A few minutes late the Safety Car was scrambled, since 16 young racing drivers on slick tires – with Championship positions still up for grabs – could be a really dangerous cocktail.
So Lirim Zendeli won the final race ahead of Liam Lawson, Enzo Fittipaldi, Frederik Vesti, Charles Weerts and Mick Wishofer.
US Racing – CHRS won the Teams Championship ahead of Van Amersfoort Racing, Prema Theodore Racing and ADAC Berlin-Brandburg e.V. (Mücke Motorsport).
David Schumacher won the Rookie Championship ahead of Niklas Krütten, Gianluca Petecof, Joey Alders and Leon Köhler.
The ADAC Formula 4 2018 season hasn’t been the best season regarding the Championship fight. Zendeli won the title by over 100 points to second, Lawson.
The Series has had issues getting cars onto the grid this year, where it wasn’t uncommon to see less than 20 cars racing, opposite to the previous seasons, with more than 30 cars entered, sometimes even 40+.
The 2018 schedule wasn’t ideal, since it was announced very late. On top of that, there were 3 races at Hockenheim – once with DTM, once with Formula 1 and then the season finale with ADAC GT Masters. It has of course been a great experience for the drivers to participate in the DTM and F1 weekends, but the young drivers need many different tracks, to learn as much as possible.
So ADAC Formula 4 2019 needs the schedule announced very soon, so the young drivers will know, if the series is worth competing in, or if they have to look towards Formula Renault 2.0, which races through most of Europe.