Home Featured Hadjar storms to F2 sprint win in Melbourne as incidents eliminate rivals

Hadjar storms to F2 sprint win in Melbourne as incidents eliminate rivals

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: Red Bull

Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar survived an early impact to take a dominant victory in an incident-filled Formula 2 sprint race at Albert Park.

Fortunes were mixed however for his Campos Racing team as an incident on the run down to turn one at the start eliminated team-mate Pepe Marti as well as front row starter Gabriel Bortoleto.

Pole-sitter Trident’s Roman Stanek defended stoutly throughout the race, initially from Hitech GP’s Paul Aron and later Invicta Racing’s Kush Maini, to take his best result in F2, with MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger charging through the field to claim the final podium position.

As Stanek held up the field behind him, a second incident midway through the race took out Prema’s Andrea Kimi Antonelli and Trident’s Richard Verschoor, with Hitech’s Paul Aron losing out as he took avoiding action, costing him a potential podium.

Both Stanek and Bortoleto made slow getaways from the front row, as the fast-starting Campos pair behind them both looked for a way through.

But just as Marti tried to squeeze into a tight gap between his team-mate and Bortoleto, Hadjar jinked right to the inside of Stanek. The team-mates collided, pitching Marti sideways and into Bortoleto alongside him, eliminating both cars and bringing out the safety car immediately.

Hadjar survived the contact to dive to the inside of Stanek into the first corner to take the lead before the race was neutralised.

Behind them, championship leader Rodin Motorsport’s Zane Maloney locked up into turn one as he passed Aron for third but the Hitech driver regained the position two corners later with Maloney running wide at turn four and dropping into fourth.

Meanwhile, ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins was already up to 13th position from 21st on the grid after his spin at the start of qualifying with another lowly-starter Prema’s Oliver Bearman one place further back.

The safety car pulled in at the end of lap six with Hadjar immediately making a break form his pursuers as the pack was bottled up behind Stanek. Maloney ran through the gravel at turn five dropping him back to 10th.

Hadjar was flying out front, pulling out a lead of 3.5s by the end of lap nine, as a queue of four cars comprising Aron, Invicta Racing’s Kush Maini, Antonelli and Verschoor formed up behind Stanek, resolutely defending his second place.

On lap 11 Maini got a run on both Stanek and Aron into turn 11, which allowed Antonelli to briefly claim the place but compromised his exit. Into turn 12 Antonelli spun into the gravel with Verschoor also spinning in avoidance and collecting Aron. Though Antonelli felt there had been a light touch from Verschoor no contact was apparent.

The unfortunate Estonian was forced wide through the gravel trap and emerged with a piece of Trdient endplate lodged in his front wing. Aron would later pit to replace the front wing and fit supersofts dropping to the tail of the field.

The second appearance of the safety car cost Hadjar his lead of 7.1s but when the field was released again at the end of lap 14, he was quickly able to reestablish his advantage with Stanek now defending from Maini.

Martins was still making strong progress, passing Zak O’Sullivan into Turn 11 for seventh on lap 19.

At the front, Hauger had pulled clear of team-mate Franco Colapinto and had caught up to Maini, as Stanek eked out a small advantage, allowing Hauger to benefit from DRS. Hauger had a look into turn three before executing a daring move around the outside of Maini through turn nine.

Though Hauger cut the gap to Stanek to 0.3s at the flag he had to settle for third, with Maini in fourth, just ahead of Colapinto and Ritomo Miyata with Martins and Bearman claiming the final points-scoring positions.

Race result (23 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Isack Hadjar Campos Racing 43m52.510s
2 Roman Stanek Trident +6.827s
3 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport +7.176s
4 Kush Maini Invicta Racing +8.581s
5 Franco Colapinto MP Motorsport +9.220s
6 Ritomo Miyata Rodin Motorsport +9.811s
7 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix +10.466s
8 Ollie Bearman Prema +12.922s
9 Zak O’Sullivan ART Grand Prix +13.442s
10 Jak Crawford DAMS +14.124s
11 Zane Maloney Rodin Motorsport +14.748s
12 Juan Manuel Correa DAMS +16.983s
13 Enzo Fittipaldi Van Amersfoort Racing +18.691s
14 Taylor Barnard PHM Racing +22.439s
15 Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing +23.096s
16 Amaury Cordeel Hitech +42.371s
17 Joshua Duerksen PHM Racing +51.274s
18 Paul Aron Hitech +1m19.178s
Ret Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema  
Ret Richard Verschoor Trident  
Ret Gabriel Bortoleto Invicta Racing  
Ret Pepe Marti Campos Racing  

Fastest lap: Hadjar, 1m31.573s

Championship standings
 Maloney 47   2 Hauger 39   3 Fittipaldi 32   4 Maini 32   5 Aron 29   6 Marti 26   7 Crawford 24   8 Hadjar 16   9 Bortoleto 15   10 O’Sullivan 14