Kimi takes it all

Columns: From Kart to F1
Andrea Kimi Antonelli is the dominator of the main Formula 4 championships; let's analyze his journey at this early part of the season. (M. Tremolada)

Ten victories in the last twelve races. An almost perfect scorecard, Andrea Kimi Antonelli’s, achieved in the last four rounds held in the Italian and German Formula 4 championships. The driver from Bologna was immediately able to put the difficult weekend in Imola behind him where a gearbox problem, and a wrong choice of dry tires on the wet asphalt, compromised his weekend.

Redemption begins at Hockenheim
As early as the successive round, that is Hockenheim, of the German series, Antonelli managed to pull off a resounding hat trick, winning not only the first two races from pole position but also race 3, in which, by virtue of the grid inversion (provided only in the German championship) he started from eighth place. In Misano, the second round of the Italian series, Antonelli came close to pulling off the feat, dominating the two qualifying rounds and all three races. The only blunder he made was at the restart after the safety car in race 3, when Rafael Camara did better, going on to take a crucial victory to retain the championship lead. The Brazilian driver, Antonelli's teammate at Team Prema but, unlike him, a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy and not of the Mercedes junior program, seems to be the only driver capable of keeping pace with the Bolognese driver, and at Imola, Camara was good at taking advantage of Antonelli's bad weekend to take the lead in the Italian series, which he is defending tooth and nail. Camara at Spa-Francorchamps could, however, do nothing to counter Antonelli’s pace; he won all three races, bringing himself just three points behind in the general standings.

Unrivaled in ADAC F4
If the Imola weekend relegated him to P2 in the Italian series standings, in ADAC F4 Antonelli has no rivals. In the first round at Spa-Francorchamps, he was over four-tenths faster in qualifying ahead of the first of his pursuers, winning the first two races and finishing fourth in race 3 having started from the fourth row of the grid. At Hockenheim, as mentioned, came a resounding hat trick, becoming the only the second driver in the category’s history to succeed in the feat of winning all three heats on the same weekend. Before him, only Dennis Hauger (F4 Italia Champion in 2019 and FIA Formula 3 Champion in 2021) had managed to pull off a hat trick, again on the Hockenheim circuit in the triumphant 2019 year.

Antonelli again proved to be uncatchable at Zandvoort, where, once again, no one was able to beat him in qualifying. Indeed, in Q1 he was 536 thousandths faster than Camara, who in Q2 managed to get 323 thousandths closer. From pole position, it all looked easy, with the Race 1 victory coming with a 5.817s lead, and the Race 2 victory by 2.770s, again ahead of the tenacious Camara. The feat, however, was the one accomplished in the third and final heat on the program. On a narrow and winding circuit like Zandvoort, it is in fact very complicated to overtake, even more so if the safety car is forced to intervene, here on two occasions. Against all odds, Antonelli managed to move up the field by force and tenacity, bringing himself in the wake of teammate Conrad Laursen when there were only five minutes to go in the race. The Dane fought back well, crossing the finish line first in a sprint by a margin of only 58 thousandths, but with Camara only fifth, Antonelli flies to a 50-point lead in the standings. An already very heavy margin, difficult for anyone to close, given Antonelli’s performance.

Antonelli's path in the first half of the season

Spa (ADAC F4)
Q1: 1°
Q2: 1°
Race 1: 1st
Race 2: 1st
Race 3: 4th

Imola (F4 Italy)
Q1: 1°
Q2: 14°
Race 1: 25th
Race 2: 24th
Race 3: 10th

Hockenheim (ADAC F4)
Q1: 1°
Q2: 1°
Race 1: 1st
Race 2: 1st
Race 3: 1st

Misano (F4 Italy)
Q1: 1°
Q2: 1°
Race 1: 1°
Race 2: 1st
Race 3: 2nd

Spa (F4 Italy)
Q1: 1°
Q2: 1°
Race 1: 1°
Race 2: 1st
Race 3: 1st

Zandvoort (ADAC F4)
Q1: 1°
Q2: 1°
Race 1: 1st
Race 2: 1st
Race 3: 2nd

F4 Italy ranking after three rounds
1 - Camara - 147 points
2 - Antonelli - 144
3 - Dunne - 108

ADAC F4 standings after three rounds
1
- Antonelli - 205 points
2 - Camara - 155
3 - Laursen - 93    

Created by: cggiuliano - 28/06/22

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