Speaking after claiming a historic win in the second of the three races at the Aragon circuit, Shihab, said, “I would like to thank all who have backed me. I have achieved victory through the hard way and I would like to make winning a habit.”
The 15 year old, fresh from his twin podium success at the FIA Formula 4 SEA Championship in Thailand, couple of weeks ago, was in imperious form as he began the weekend with a pole position for the first race.
Competing in the first race on Saturday, Shihab, who drives for Xcel Motorsport, was beaten off the line by title rival Argentina's Franco Colapinto of Drivex School. Praga F4's Killian Meyer of Spain came second. The trio remained in tandem for the first half of the race among the 15 participating drivers.
On lap 12 of 15, Colapinto swept around the outside of Shihab at the turn one for the lead, with Meyer almost snatching second from Shihab at the same corner a lap later.
After nearly a lap of side-by-side action Meyer finally took second place, but the battle had gifted Colapinto space up front and a second win of the season in a time of 28min12.044s. Meyer was +2.402s while Shihab was +4.300s.
First win of season
Shihab struck back from pole in race two on Sunday, his second fastest time in qualifying, to take his first win of the season by 1.554 seconds over MP
Motorsport’s Tijmen van der Helm. Shihab clocked the 11-lap round in a time of 20m38.621s.
Colapinto separated the two on the grid, but stalled at the start and finished a distant 14th. Meyer initially ran in eighth, and slowly closed in on the drivers ahead.
He took fourth on the penultimate lap when Axel Gnos spun battling Carles Martinez, then inherited a podium finish when the latter was penalised to finish +5.424s behind Shihab.
In the third and final race, although Colapinto topped qualifying, Meyer started from pole and dominated after the former was penalised.
Colapinto started from last but was up to eighth in a lap, and, after Shihab misjudged a move for Van der Helm to move second, he made his way up to third.
Colapinto then pitted with damage and dropped back to last, with Shihab taking a second, his third successive podium for a splendid third round, 4.883s behind winner Meyer, who won in a time of 28m13.452s over 15 laps. Drivex School's Artem Lobanenko took the final podium spot (+15.736s).
The no score for Colapinto meant Meyer has overtaken him in the overall standings after three rounds with 97 points.
Colapinto is overall second with 90 and Shihab is now overall third with 85 after the latest's results.
Earlier, in the two rounds, Shihab had collected a total of 37 points following two podium finishes in six races.
Shihab had begun his season with a runner-up spot in the opening race but the next two races saw him retire and earn a disqualification. In the second round, Shihab had a eighth-place in the fourth race and followed it with a third and sixth-place.
However, the Aragon results, including his maiden win of the season, has put him in reckoning for the title as he trails leader Meyer by just 12 points while second-placed Colapinto is mere five points ahead with four more rounds to go.