Home Featured Crawford explains key to crucial Maloney move in Imola F2 comeback

Crawford explains key to crucial Maloney move in Imola F2 comeback

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

Jak Crawford worked his way through the field in the Formula 2 feature race at Imola as one of the few drivers to make several overtaking moves on Sunday.

The DAMS driver lined up in 21st position on the grid but was determined to still score valuable points, finishing the feature race in seventh place.

It was a very strong race from us,” he told Formula Scout in the paddock. “I had an issue in qualifying with my engine, so I only got to complete one lap at the very, very end with high fuel. So it was not very competitive. And that was a massive shame, but we knew we had strong pace.

“As we learned from [Saturday] it was really difficult to overtake, especially when everyone has DRS. I think today it was a combination of nailing the strategy. It was a good time for us to pit. And we also had a very good car to be able to overtake [Zane] Maloney and [Roman] Stanek, which really set our race up for something good.”

The American gained four places in the opening lap then overtook his teammate Juan Manuel Correa on lap three.  Having pitted on lap seven of 35, he first passed Trident’s Richard Verschoor, then closed a three-and-a-half seconds gap to Rodin Motorsport’s championship leader Maloney, who had been struggling to get past Trident’s Stanek.

Crawford wasn’t prepared to lose time against those on the alternate strategy. After five laps of waiting, he pushed Maloney onto extremely defensive lines at the Villeneuve chicane and the Tosa hairpin and got alongside under acceleration up the hill to complete the move at Piratella. Another five laps and he passed Stanek to then drive away.

“It’s very hot here, so we have a lot of thermal degradation with the tyres,” he explained. “So from my side, my whole goal was to only really push the tyre when I knew I was going for an overtake. And that’s sort of what I did with Zane and then the same with Roman. I just had to use my tyre at the correct time during the battles and overall it was nice to get the moves done. For sure we had some extra grip compared to them at that stage.

“With the tyres we had here, basically if you don’t overtake in the first two laps, you overheat and then you get slower and slower. You go to the pace of the guy in front. I think from Zane’s side, he struggled maybe a bit to get around. And at that point, he was just struggling with the tyres and he didn’t make use, I think, of the potential he had on the first two laps. And then from then on, I was just stuck behind him. So I was getting a bit frustrated, but he still seemed a bit quicker than Roman. So it was even more frustrating. But in the end it worked out for me.”