Robert Shwartzman reclaimed the championship lead after clinching victory in the Belgian Sprint Race following an early collision between Roy Nissany and Dan Ticktum.
Nissany and Ticktum tussled for the lead throughout the opening three laps with Ticktum producing an outside move into Les Combes, only to be clipped and launched over the kerbs before spinning Nissany upon re-entry into the barriers as Shwartzman swept past into the lead and to victory with the point for fastest lap too.
Callum Ilott meanwhile was spun out on lap one by title rival, Yuki Tsunoda which meant that Shwartzman reclaimed the championship team by ten points from Ilott, with Tsunoda now 21 points behind the Russian in third with ten races left of this season.
Speaking post race on the start and resulting win after Ticktum and Nissany collided, Shwartzman said; “Today, I had a decent start and was P3 out of Turn 1. The guys in front were quite aggressive so I was being a bit cautious with them. They crashed and collided, and I used that opportunity to get past them.”
“After that, I just kept up my pace and I am really happy to have the win and the fastest lap as well.”
Mick Schumacher and Guanyu Zhou rounded out the podium placings ahead of Nikita Mazepin, Luca Ghiotto, Louis Deletraz, Christian Lundgaard and Artem Markelov, who claimed his first point of the campaign in eighth.
Nobuharu Matsushita didn’t make the start after his MP Motorsport car was too badly damaged from yesterday’s Feature Race crash to be repaired in time.
Nissany made a strong start but Ticktum snatched the lead into La Source only for the Israeli driver to reclaim the lead into Les Combes, which saw Ilott spun out on the exit by Tsunoda who received a five second time penalty ultimately costing the Red Bull protégé seventh and two points at the flag.
Nissany survived a consequential two lap safety car but Ticktum got the better traction upon the restart and launched an outside move into Les Combes, only to be tapped by Nissany who sent him high over the kerbs and powerlessly collected Nissany upon re-entry to send the Trident spinning into the barrier.
Shwartzman who was just behind the pair in third quickly swept around the outside as Ticktum gathered control of his DAMS to claim the lead, from which he never conceded throughout the remainder of this race.
Upon the second safety car restart on lap seven, Ghiotto had a wide moment at Raidillon to concede sixth to Schumacher whilst Deletraz got Ticktum for second into the Bus Stop chicane.
Ticktum however fought back on the Kemmel Straight to reclaim second as Deletraz as Aitken got Ghiotto for seventh, only to receive a 10 second stop and go penalty a few laps later for starting out of position on the grid.
Deletraz began to struggle with his tyre wear and come lap 12, Ticktum found himself defending from Schumacher who eventually got past on the Kemmel Straight with DRS, with Zhou taking third from Ticktum a lap later via a sweeping outside move through Campus.
A Virtual Safety car was briefly deployed on lap 15 after Jehan Daruvala spun Marino Sato at the Bus Stop chicane to cap off a disastrous race for Trident, who had started the Sprint with Nissany on pole.
Ticktum eventually began to struggle for grip as he conceded two positions to Mazepin then Ghiotto on lap 16, before Deletraz, Tsunoda, Lundgaard Markelov got past as the Brit clung onto tenth despite a last gasp move from DAMS teammate, Juri Vips which wasn’t finished off neatly on exit of the Bus Stop chicane on the final lap.
|1||Robert Shwartzman||Prema||18||42m 44.391|
|2||Mick Schumacher||Prema||18||+ 9.025|
|3||Guanyu Zhou||UNI-Virtuosi||18||+ 11.193|
|4||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||18||+ 20.945|
|5||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||18||+ 21.907|
|6||Louis Deletraz||Charouz||18||+ 25.182|
|7||Christian Lundgaard||ART GP||18||+ 26.796|
|8||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||18||+ 30.492|
|9||Yuki Tsunoda||Carlin||18||+ 30.559|
|10||Dan Ticktum||DAMS||18||+ 32.126|
|11||Juri Vips||DAMS||18||+ 32.331|
|12||Pedro Piquet||Charouz||18||+ 32.832|
|13||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||18||+ 33.041|
|14||Giuliano Alesi||HWA Racelab||18||+ 33.448|
|15||Guilherme Samaia||Campos||18||+ 34.729|
|16||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||18||+ 44.078|
|17||Jack Aitken||Campos||18||+ 1m 16.304|
|19||Marcus Armstrong||ART GP||10|
|DNS||Nobuharu Matsushita||MP Motorsport||0||Damage|