Formula 2

Formula 2: Maloney takes maiden win at Bahrain season-opener

Featured image credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Rodin Motorsport’s Zane Maloney climbed from eighth on the grid to take his first Formula 2 victory in the season-opening sprint race at Sakhir.

The Sauber junior moved up the order in the opening laps before finishing 5.5 seconds clear of DAMS driver Jak Crawford, while Campos Racing’s Pepe Marti made up seven places to score a podium on his debut.

Following Kush Maini’s post-qualifying disqualification for a technical infringement, Crawford was promoted to reversed-grid pole for Friday’s curtain raiser. He converted that into the lead when the lights went out, but fellow front-row starter Taylor Barnard bogged down and slipped back to ninth.

Victor Martins profited to gain one place into second into turn one, and the ART Grand Prix driver held onto the position despite a challenge around the outside by his team-mate Zak O’Sullivan, who himself then resisted an attack from Van Amersfoort Racing’s Enzo Fittipaldi into turn four to retain third.

There was a brief virtual safety car period after Amaury Cordeel’s Hitech GP car ground to a halt, while VAR’s Rafael Villagomez headed for the pitlane with a left-front puncture.

Having already gained three positions, Maloney pounced once green flag running resumed to take fourth away from Fittipaldi and almost immediately applied pressure to O’Sullivan, who conceded third to the Barbadian driver at the start of the following lap.

It wasn’t long until Maloney pinched second from Martins with a lunge up the inside at turn four, and he then quickly eradicated a 0.5s deficit to Crawford. The pair then went wheel-to-wheel through turn four on lap 8, with Maloney winning the duel to snatch the lead before pulling clear and sailing to victory.

Crawford briefly lost second to Martins, who dived up the inside at turn one at lap 10, but he was able to wrestle back the position on the exit.

By this stage Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar had moved past Fittipaldi into fourth while O’Sullivan – one of only a few running the hard compound tyre – had faded to eighth behind Paul Aron and Marti. Fittipaldi then also started to struggle on his soft tyres, losing out to Aron, Marti and a resurgent O’Sullivan.

Hadjar eventually caught and passed Martins for third on lap 16, while Marti took fifth away from Aron.

As both Martins’ and Hadjar’s tyres started to fade, Marti caught and passed the pair, snatching third from his team-mate Hadjar with four laps to go after a battle that lasted from turn one to turn four.

Hadjar took the chequered flag in lonely fourth ahead of Aron, while Martins tumbled out of the points to 11th. Reigning FIA Formula 3 champion Gabriel Bortoleto passed Dennis Hauger late on and lost out in a drag race to the line with Aron by 0.1s to finish sixth on his debut. O’Sullivan also overtook Hauger for seventh, while reigning Super Formula champion Ritomo Miyata just missed out on the points in ninth.

Trident’s Richard Verschoor rounded out the top 10, while Prema duo Andrea Kimi Antonelli and OIlie Bearman came home in 14th and 16th respectively, having both pitted during the race for fresh tyres. Fittipaldi also changes tyres and ended the race in 17th, one place ahead of MP Motorsport’s Franco Colapinto who served a 10-second penalty for starting from an incorrect grid position.

Race result (23 laps)

Position Driver Team Time
1 Zane Maloney Rodin Motorsport 42m13.726s
2 Jak Crawford DAMS +5.490s
3 Pepe Marti Campos Racing +7.057s
4 Isack Hadjar Campos Racing +9.783s
5 Paul Aron Hitech GP +18.188s
6 Gabriel Bortoleto Invicta Racing +18.320s
7 Zak O’Sullivan ART Grand Prix +20.135s
8 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport +21.032s
9 Ritomo Miyata Rodin Motorsport +21.490s
10 Richard Verschoor Trident +21.839s
11 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix +23.840s
12 Juan Manuel Correa DAMS +26.833s
13 Kush Maini Invicta Racing +27.246s
14 Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema +30.260s
15 Joshua Duerksen PHM Racing +35.257s
16 Ollie Bearman Prema +36.247s
17 Enzo Fittipaldi Van Amersfoort Racing +56.183s
18 Franco Colapinto MP Motorsport +1m04.819s
19 Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing +1m21.558s
DNF Roman Stanek Trident
DNF Taylor Barnard PHM Racing
DNF Amaury Cordeel Hitech GP


Featured image credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

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