Oliver Bearman from the Van Amersfoort Racing team won the opening ADAC Formula 4 race at the Hockenheimring. The 16-year-old Brit led from start to finish to take a commanding victory at the 4.574-kilometre high-speed circuit near Heidelberg. In doing so, he claimed his fifth victory in seven races so far this season, and added a further 25 points to his tally in the championship. Irish rookie Alex Dunne (15, US Racing) finished runner-up, 1.706 seconds behind Bearman. Rounding off the podium in third place was Luke Browning (19, Great Britain, US Racing).
Bearman started strongly from pole position and had already established a lead of one and a half seconds by the end of the opening lap. Behind him, three US Racing drivers were embroiled in a thrilling early exchange. Dunne, who had skidded into a gravel bed on the formation lap, took his opportunity and set off in pursuit of Bearman from second place. Browning and ADAC Stiftung Sport driver Tim Tramnitz (16, Hamburg, US Racing) went toe-to-toe in a determined battle for third place. The drivers in the leading group produced flawless performances in the final third of the race, each maintaining their position through to the finish.
Bearman, Dunne, Browning and Tramnitz were followed home in fifth place by Vlad Lomko (16, Russia, US Racing). Sixth place went to Frenchman Victor Bernier (17, R-ace GP), ahead of Russia’s Nikita Bedrin (15, Van Amersfoort Pilot) in seventh. Marcus Amand (15, France, R-ace GP) was eighth. Hungarian Bence Valint (16, Van Amersfoort Racing) and Switzerland’s Michael Sauter (16, Sauter Engineering+Design) came home ninth and tenth. Hamburg’s Tramnitz set the fastest lap time of 1:42.239 minutes. The rookie competition was won by Dunne, ahead of Bedrin and Amand.
“It is absolutely great to have won the first race here. Particularly after I claimed my very first race win in a single-seater here last year. I returned to the circuit with very fond memories,” said Bearman after his fifth win of the season. “The race may have looked easy from the outside, but the three guys behind me put me under a lot of pressure. Alex Dunne, in particular, had good pace in the first half of the race. However, he never got close enough and in the end I did a good job of keeping him at bay. I hope I can do the same again tomorrow.”
Bearman is refusing to be drawn into thoughts of winning the title with races to spare. “It is a long race, a long championship.” The 16-year-old’s initial focus is on race two on Sunday, which he starts from behind pole-sitter Tim Tramnitz: “I made a good start. I would like to repeat that. Tim, on the other hand, had a poor start. If he would like to do the same thing again, it would benefit me,” said Bearman, who expects it, “to be a really good race.”
Alex Dunne was pleased with second place and his successful debut in ADAC Formula 4: “I am very happy. We did a good job. I did not actually have any great expectations. I wanted to take it one race at a time and was perhaps hoping for a podium. After a good start and a little fight with Luke (Browning), I was able to establish myself in second place. Luke and I benefitted from the fact that Tim Tramnitz appeared to have a few issues, which allowed us both to overtake him before turn 1,” said Dunne. “I did my best to catch Olli (Bearman), but he was simply too strong today. On the whole, however, I am very happy. Let’s see what is possible tomorrow.”
The second race in the ADAC high-speed school starts at 11:50 on Sunday. In race three (Sunday, 15:50), the top eight from race two start in reverse order. The ADAC Formula 4 races at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg are shown in a livestream at adac.de/motorsport and youtube.com/adac.