Prema Racing’s Mick Schumacher topped the timesheets in European Formula 3 practice ahead of the penultimate round of the 2018 season at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

Schumacher led the way in both FP1 and FP2 – with the sessions held back to back – while championship rival and Red Bull Formula 1 junior Daniel Ticktum could only manage sixth place overall.

Setting a 1m23.956s benchmark in the first session, Schumacher did not beat this time until the closing stages of the 40-minute FP2 session.

Vaulting to the top of the timesheet with five minutes remaining, Schumacher was first usurped by Fabio Scherer, before Marcus Armstrong and Juri Vips led the field within the final minutes.

However, Schumacher returned to the top spot with his final lap of the session, recording a 1m23.650s to edge Vips by 0.079s.

Schumacher’s team-mate Armstrong ended up third, albeit a mere 0.092s adrift of first place.

Scherer, whose late-session pace in FP2 was delivered in spite of having finished in an anonymous 18th place in the first 40-minute session, ended up fourth overall.

Ralf Aron ensured that three Prema drivers featured in the top five. He finished practice in fifth place.

Championship leader Ticktum was 13th in FP1 and only started to figure towards the top of the timesheet during the second session.

In the closing moments of FP2, Ticktum consecutively recorded session best times through sector two, but was unable to threaten Schumacher’s position after losing three tenths in the relatively simple first sector of the lap.

His fastest overall time was delivered with his final lap fo the session but, with a 1m23.885s, he was 0.235s behind his primary championship rival Schumacher.

After winning all three races at the Nurburgring, Schumacher has entered this weekend just three points behind Ticktum.

Nurburgring race one polesitter Robert Shwartzman was seventh in practice, ahead of Carlin duo Ferdinand Habsburg and Sacha Fenestraz.