ADAC Formula 4: Victor Bernier claims his first win of the season

Published on Sunday, October 24, 2021

ADAC Formula 4: Victor Bernier claims his first win of the season

Victor Bernier (16, France, R-ace GP) won Saturday’s ADAC Formula 4 race at the Hockenehimring to claim his first victory of the season. The Frenchman benefitted from a five-second penalty awarded to Oliver Bearman (16, Great Britain, Van Amersfoort Racing). This saw Bearman relegated to sixth place, while Tim Tramnitz (16, Hamburg, US Racing) picked up 18 points for his second place. Third place went to Russia’s Vlad Lomko (16, US Racing).

The decisive situation in a trilling race with two safety car phases came shortly before the finish. Race leader Bearman was defending against an aggressive manoeuvre from Tim Tramnitz. In doing so, he made contact with Tramnitz’s car: the man from Hamburg was barely able to return to the track and went on to finish third. The stewards ultimately penalised Bearman’s action with a five-second penalty.

“I didn’t really see the manoeuvre itself. In the end, it is down to the stewards to make a decision, and that is precisely what they have done. It is obviously disappointing for Oliver. However, I am happy with the win. Hopefully I can be first across the finish line tomorrow,” said Bernier. “It was a tough race for me. I started seventh, after which it was a very good race. Thank you to the team for their incredible work. We will see what happens tomorrow, but for the moment everything is very good.”

“I think the decision made by race control was the correct one and am pleased with the points I scored. Nevertheless, I am not entirely satisfied, as I did not manage to fend of the overtaking manoeuvre, and so lost my lead,” said Tramnitz, who closed to within 25 points of championship leader Bearman.

The best-placed rookie was Nikita Bedrin (15, Russia, Van Amersfoort Racing) – despite a defective tyre, which he had to come into the pits to change. He ended the race in seventh place. Luke Browning (19, Great Britain, US Racing) was classed as fifth, having also received a time penalty for forcing Joshua Dufek (16, Switzerland, Van Amersfoort Racing) off the track. Switzerland’s Dufek was fourth.

Everything went to plan for Bearman at the start of the race. From third on the grid, he first overtook pole-sitter Alex Dunne (15, Ireland, US Racing), who did not get off to a good start and lost his lead to Tim Tramnitz. Browning had also passed Dunne by turn one, meaning Tramnitz led from Bearman and Browning after the first few metres.

However, Bearman took the better line in the hairpin at the end of the high-speed section round the Parabolica, allowing him to overtake Tramnitz and take the lead. Shortly after this, Sami Meguetounif (17, France, R-ace GP) lost control of his Formula 4 car and skidded off the track, resulting in an appearance from the safety car.

Bearman held onto the lead at the restart, but was unable to shake off the attentions of Tramnitz, who stayed hot on his heels. However, Tramnitz made a mistake under braking, after which he initially had to focus on defending against any attacks from behind, which he did successfully.

Alex Dunne’s miserable race ended prematurely. Entering the start/finish straight, he made contact with Bedrin and skidded off the track and out of the race. Bedrin suffered tyre damage in this incident, but another safety car phase meant the Russian was soon able to make up the ground that he had lost in the ensuring pit stop and rejoin the back of the field.

The safety car came in with ten minutes still on the clock – and the battle for victory continued to heat up. Tramnitz repeatedly attempted to overtake Bearman, who defended the attacks for all he was worth.

Shortly before the end of the race, there was contact between the two leaders. Tramnitz tried to pass on the left. Bearman quickly closed the gap he had left – but was unable to avoid contact. Tramnitz struggled to keep his car on the road, but lost his position to France’s Bernier.

A maximum 50 points are still up for grabs in Hockenheim with victory in the two remaining races on Sunday. As such, the title race remains exciting and competitive. Race two starts at 09:40, race three at 14:15. The season finale takes place at the Nürburgring from 5th to 7th November.

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