Hitech GP’s Jak Crawford won from reversed-grid pole in the Formula 2 sprint race at Red Bull Ring, as early damp conditions shook up the order.
A moment of silence was held on the grid before the race in memory of Dilano van’t Hoff, who passed away in an accident at Spa-Francorchamps in a Formula Regional European Championship race earlier in the day.
The track conditions led to extra formation laps before the cars lined up on the grid for a standing start, with half the field on slick tyres and half on wet-weather tyres.
Front-row starters Crawford and Jehan Daruvala both opted for slicks and quickly lost out to the wet-shod Arthur Leclerc and Theo Pourchaire, the latter climbing from eighth to second on lap one.
Several other drivers starting on wets made huge gains, while Virtuosi’s Jack Doohan slid off on slicks from fourth but continued and Daruvala spun into the gravel.
The safety car was deployed to retrieve Daruvala’s car, with more drama as soon as racing resumed on lap five.
Van Amersfoort Racing’s Richard Verschoor, who had moved up from 11th to third before the intervention, spun off exiting turn one which immediately triggered a second safety car period.
With conditions improving, several drivers on wet tyres opted to pit for slicks, including Leclerc, Pourchaire and Frederik Vesti. Pourchaire eventually incurred a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release into the path of Vesti’s team-mate Ollie Bearman.
Crawford was promoted back to the lead ahead of Campos Racing’s Juan Manuel Correa, with the pair pulling clear on the lap eight restart while a frenetic battle raged for third into turn three between Kush Maini, Enzo Fittipaldi and Zane Maloney.
ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins capitalised on the squabble to pass the trio on the exit to take third ahead of Isack Hadjar, while Maloney was swamped as his wet tyres started to lose grip, the Rodin Carlin driver tumbling to the back of the field.
Martins eventually took second away from Correa into turn three, with Correa soon also losing out to Hadjar and Clement Novalak, who moved from fifth to third. Crawford meanwhile held more than a two-second lead, which he was able to maintain until a virtual safety car period on lap 19 when Fittipaldi spun off after being squeezed onto the grass by Maini.
Green flag running quickly resumed, with Crawford controlling his advantage over the remaining eight laps to win by 2.2s from Martins, while Novalak came home third, having started 20th.
Hadjar was 0.4s behind in fourth, and Correa held of Roman Stanek in the closing laps for fifth. Dennis Hauger passed Doohan late on for seventh while Bearman, who started 19th, charged up to ninth after pitting early on for slicks.
Points leader Vesti failed to score despite recovering to 10th ahead of Roy Nissany, while Maini lost two spots to the pair by running wide at turn three. Pourchaire was classified in 16th.
Race result (27 laps)
|1||Jak Crawford||Hitech GP||39m36.231s|
|2||Victor Martins||ART Grand Prix||+2.286s|
|4||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||+4.366s|
|5||Juan Manuel Correa||Van Amersfoort Racing||+9.524s|
|7||Dennis Hauger||MP Motorsport||+10.628s|
|8||Jack Doohan||Virtuosi Racing||+11.401s|
|11||Roy Nissany||PHM by Charouz||+13.538s|
|12||Kush Maini||Campos Racing||+16.487s|
|14||Brad Benavides||PHM by Charouz||+19.090s|
|16||Theo Pourchaire||ART Grand Prix||+22.030s|
|17||Amaury Cordeel||Virtuosi Racing||+22.205s|
|18||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||+26.896s|
|Ret||Richard Verschoor||Van Amersfoort Racing|
|Ret||Jehan Daruvala||MP Motorsport|
|Fastest lap: Maloney, 1m17.294s