Formula 2

Formula 2: Hauger wins chaotic Melbourne sprint race

Featured image credit: @formula2 official twitter

Dennis Hauger withstood late rain and a safety car restart to take a lights-to-flag win in the Formula 2 sprint race at Albert Park.

The MP Motorsports driver made a great launch from pole and resisted an early challenge from Jak Crawford to lead until the race was neutralised on lap 14 of 22, and then held on for the final two laps once the race resumed to seal his third victory. Crawford (Hitech GP) and Kush Maini (Campos Racing) scored their first podiums in second and third.

A damp circuit led to drama before the race even started and a five-minute delay. Rodin Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi crashed on the way to the grid and Campos driver Ralph Boschung also spun to a halt, with neither driver able to take the start. Maini was another to spin, but was able to get going and start from third on the grid

The front three maintained their positions on the opening lap while a frenetic battle took place behind. Prema’s Ollie Bearman moved past DAMS’ Arthur Leclerc for fourth, but Leclerc fought back and regained the position.

Sunday’s feature race pole-winner Ayumu Iwasa suffered a puncture after contact with Carlin’s Zane Maloney, and he would eventually finish 13th. Having avoided damage, Maloney soon passed Bearman for sixth and then spent several laps on the tail of ART GP’s Victor Martins.

Just after the halfway stage. Maloney pulled a brave move around the outside of Turn 9 and survived a sideways moment to move into fifth, while Bearman tried to get involved in the battle but ended up losing out to Hitech’s Isack Hadjar and his Prema team-mate Frederik Vesti.

The safety car was deployed after home favourite Jack Doohan was tagged from behind by Van Amersfoort Racing’s Juan Manuel Correa and spun into retirement. At the same time light rain arrived, with a few drivers gambling on a switch to wet tyres.

Among those was Martins, ART’s Theo Pourchaire, Trident’s Roman Stanek and Charouz’s Brad Benavides, but with the rain not intensifying the tyre switch would prove the wrong one. Stanek and Benavides went off the road as they tried to catch up the safety car train, with the latter retiring and causing the restart to be delayed.

The green flags were finally waved with two laps to go, with Hauger leading home Crawford, Maini and Leclerc, while Maloney was fifth ahead of fellow Red Bull junior Hadjar. Bearman retook Vesti on the final lap to finish seventh, while Charouz’s Roy Nissany and VAR’s Richard Verschoor just missed out on points in ninth and 10th.

 

Featured image credit: @formula2 official twitter

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