Formula 2

Formula 2: Hadjar makes amends with Albert Park feature race win

Featured image credit: Campos Racing

Isack Hadjar bounced back from losing victory in Saturday’s sprint race by triumphing from eighth on the grid in the Formula 2 feature race at Albert Park

The Red Bull junior was handed a 10-second penalty in the sprint race for an opening-lap collision with his Campos Racing team-mate Pepe Marti and Gabriel Bortoleto, which handed the win to Trident’s Roman Stanek.

The key moment of the feature race came when polesitter and early leader Dennis Hauger crashed out, with a timely pitstop before the resultant safety car period leapfrogging Hadjar into the net lead, and he eventually took a comfortable victory ahead of Hitech GP’s Paul Aron and Rodin Motorsport’s Zane Maloney who profited from Hauger’s misfortune to extend his points lead.

Hadjar briefly lost a place following the start to Prema’s Ollie Bearman, who climbed from 16th on the grid to snatch eighth at turn nine, but the Frenchman regained the position before the end of the opening lap, while Stanek was rear-ended into a spin at turn three by ART Grand Prix’s Zak O’Sullivan.

There was also a change of lead on lap one, as MP Motorsport’s Hauger went defensive approaching turn 11 but Prema’s Andrea Kimi Antonelli was still able to squeeze past on the inside. Hauger tried to immediately fight back at the next corner but backed out and delayed Trident’s Richard Verschoor who lost third to Maloney, with Hauger then reclaiming first place from Antonelli approaching turn nine on the next lap.

Having started on the medium compound tyre, Invicta Racing’s Kush Maini made progress over the next few laps as his soft-shod rivals began to struggle. First he picked off Verschoor into turn one and then capitalised on a grassy moment for Maloney exiting turn 10 to gain another place.

He soon breezed past Antonelli for second on the run to turn nine moments before a two-lap virtual safety car period caused by a collision between O’Sullivan and PHM Racing’s Joshua Duerksen which put the latter out at the penultimate corner.

Within moments of green-flag racing resuming, Maini snatched the lead into turn nine from Hauger who then dived into the pits at the end of the lap to switch from softs to mediums, with Antonelli, Aron, Maloney and Verschoor doing the same.

After returning to track, Hauger locked up on cold tyres and crashed heavily at turn six, which initially caused a virtual safety car period. Hadjar pitted immediately and emerged ahead of Antonelli, with officials then deciding to deploy the safety car.

Having opted to stay out, Maini continued to lead when the race resumed on lap 15 of 33 and soon pulled out a 2s lead over DAMS duo Juan Manuel Correa and Jak Crawford, the latter taking third from Fittipaldi who ran wide and lost a further place to Stanek.

Hadjar, the leading runner of those to have completed their mandatory stops, quickly moved past Taylor Barnard into sixth, and he continued to make use of his fresh tyres to pass Fittipaldi before eventually breezing past Stanek.

Maini pulled out a 2s lead over DAMS duo Juan Manuel Correa and Jak Crawford, the latter taking third from Enzo Fittipaldi, who ran wide at turn three and lost a further place to Stanek.

Aron meanwhile made an aggressive move on Antonelli for a net second place while the pair were overtaking the still-to-stop Barnard, and the pair soon picked off Fittipaldi and Stanek. Having lost time battling Ritomo Miyata following the safety car restart, Maloney eradicated a 3s deficit to Antonelli and passed the Mercedes-AMG junior with nine laps to go.

Crawford moved ahead of his team-mate Correa with six laps remaining before hunting down and taking the lead away from Maini. Correa made his mandatory stop with three laps to go, but slid off the road at turn one after emerging from the pitlane. Crawford and Maini came in next time by, but lost out to Bearman on rejoining and finished out of the points.

Hadjar led the final two laps and took the chequered flag 4.454s clear of Aron, with Maloney a further 3s back in third. Antonelli held off Miyata by 0.7s to finish fourth, with Verschoor sixth ahead of Franco Colapinto and Rafael Villagomez.

ART’s Victor Martins made up nine places on the opening lap to 12th and eventually came home ninth. Bearman briefly battled Martins after the pair had made their mandatory stops but was rear-ended in the process by Pepe Marti – who was handed a 10s penalty for the incident – and the Ferrari Academy member then bounced back from a late spin to take the final point for 10th ahead of Crawford.

Bortoleto and O’Sullivan both retired in the pitlane – the latter as a result of his collision with Duerksen.

Featured image credit: Campos Racing

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