Formula 2

Formula 2: Hadjar survives clash to win Albert Park sprint race

Featured image credit: Campos Racing

Isack Hadjar escaped from a collision at the start with his Campos Racing team-mate to take a comfortable victory in the Formula 2 sprint race at Albert Park

The Red Bull junior twice built more than a six-second lead in an eventful contest which was disrupted by two safety car periods to win ahead of maiden podium finisher Roman Stanek and MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger who climbed from 10th on the grid to third.

Trident’s Stanek lined up on reversed-grid pole with Invicta Racing’s Gabriele Bortoleto alongside him. Campos duo Hadjar and Pepe Marti made the better starts from the second row, but they both went for the same gap between the front-row pair and collided, with Marti and Bortoleto then coming together and crashing into the wall by the pitlane exit.

Avoiding damage, Hadjar snatched the lead into turn one from Stanek, with the safety car then deployed before the end of the opening lap.

The race resumed on lap seven of 23, with Hadjar pulling clear while Stanek put up an increasingly robust defence of second place from Hitech GP’s Paul Aron. It soon became a five-way battle as Stanek backed Aron up into Invicta’s Kush Maini, Prema’s Andrea Kimi Antonelli, and Trident’s Richard Verschoor.

Aron tried to pass Stanek on lap 10 through turns nine and 10, but was then slow onto the following straight and lost out in a three-wide battle with Maini and Antonelli. Having also got by Aron, Verschoor drew alongside Antonelli into turn 12, but the pair simultaneously spun and retired, with Verschoor collecting Aron who was able to rejoin with front-wing damage after being forced into the gravel.

That led to the second safety period, with Hadjar having benefited from the squabble behind to pull out a 7.7s lead. He then mastered the restart with 9 laps remaining to immediately pull away and then controlled proceedings from there to win by 6.827s.

Maini battled Stanek for second, but with four laps to go he was demoted to fourth by Hauger, who swept around the outside at turn nine. The Norwegian then applied final-lap pressure on Stanek who held on at the chequered flag by less than half a second, with Maini following the pair home.

Hauger’s team-mate Franco Colaptino came home fifth ahead of Rodin Motorsport’s Ritomo Miyata, with ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins and Prema’s Ollie Bearman climbing through the field to score their first points of the season in seventh and eighth – all four passing Zak O’Sullivan who faded late on to finish out of the points in ninth.

DAMS’s Jak Crawford snatched 10th from points leader Zane Maloney on the final lap, Maloney having slid out of fourth following the first safety car period and then been involved in a thrilling mid-race battle with Rodin team-mate Miyata.

Juan Manuel Correa lost out in a feisty scrap with team-mate Crawford and eventually finished 12th, while PHM Racing’s Joshua Duerksen recovered from a late spin into the gravel to finish 17th.

 

Featured image credit: Campos Racing

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