Alpine Academy driver Oscar Piastri had been crowned champion of FIA Formula 2, with the Australian finishing on the podium in Sprint Race 1 in Abu Dhabi ahead of title rival Robert Shwartzman.
Piastri needed to finish in fifth position to guarantee himself the title, no matter where his Russian counterpart had finished. The PREMA driver crossed the line behind Jehan Daruvala who won and Felipe Drugovich in second.
Daruvala kept hold of the lead from reverse-grid pole, while Carlin team-mate Dan Ticktum dropped from second to fourth by Turn 1. In contrast, Piastri made up four positions from tenth to sixth.
The Australian continued on his charge on Lap 3 with DRS to get past Ticktum at Turn 9 for fifth, a few corners after his PREMA team-mate Shwartzman got by the Brit for fourth position.
The top ten after the opening five laps was Daruvala, Drugovich, Liam Lawson, Shwartzman, Piastri, Ticktum, Theo Pourchaire, Ralphs Boschung, Guanyu Zhou and Marcus Armstrong.
On the sixth lap with DRS, Shwartzman sailed past Lawson for third into Turn 6. Piastri replicated the Russian’s manoeuvre to move ahead of the Kiwi on the following tour.
Further behind on Lap 10, Zhou overtook Boschung for eighth position just before the first chicane.
Four laps remained in Sprint Race 1 and Piastri’s patience behind his championship rival had paid off. He used the DRS on the first back-straight to lunge down the inside of Shwartzman to go up into the podium places and the title edged ever nearer.
Daruvala came through to win his second victory season ahead of Drugovich. Piastri crossed the line in third place to crown himself the 2021 FIA Formula 2 Champion.
Shwartzman finished fourth right behind ahead of Lawson, Ticktum, Pourchaire and Zhou.
Armstrong was tenth and thus, will start on reverse-grid pole for Sprint Race 2. Boschung will join the New Zealander on the front row after his ninth-place finish.
With both championships now wrapped up, all that remains for PREMA is for Shwartzman to finish second in the Drivers’ Standings to Piastri. The Russian is now 20 points clear of third-place Zhou with two races still to go.
Sprint Race 2 begins at 18:45 track time following Formula 1 qualifying.