Home Featured Maloney charges from eighth to win F2 season opener

Maloney charges from eighth to win F2 season opener

by Peter Allen

Photo: Formula Motorsport Limited

Zane Maloney delivered on his pre-season pace to win the season-opening Formula 2 sprint race in Bahrain, going from eighth to first within eight laps.

Jak Crawford kept the lead from reversed grid pole at the start while Taylor Barnard – with just a single pre-season test under his belt at this level – got away slowly from second.

Victor Martins took up second place but was challenged through turn 1 by ART Grand Prix team-mate Zak O’Sullivan – who started on the lower-grip hard tyre while most others fitted the softs despite there being no mandatory pitstop.

After a brief virtual safety car was required after Amaury Cordeel pulled off following contact from Rafael Villagomez, Martins immediately tried to attack Crawford into turn 1 on lap 3.

Maloney meanwhile was already up to fifth, and passed Enzo Fittipaldi through turn 12 before taking third from O’Sullivan at the start of the next lap.

The Rodin driver got past Martins for second place on lap six of 23, and took the lead away from Crawford in turn 6 two laps later.

Despite his rapid early charge through the order on the soft tyres, Maloney seemed to have no trouble making them last, and finished 5.4 seconds clear of Crawford for his first F2 win.

While Martins struggled badly for pace and grip in the second half of the race and fell through the field, Campos replicated the form it showed one year ago in Bahrain with Isack Hadjar coming from ninth on the grid to move up into third with seven laps to go.

Soon afterwards though, Hadjar reported he was in “big trouble” with his front tyres and his team-mate Pepe Marti passed him with four laps to go to score a podium in his first F2 race, having started 11th.

Paul Aron also raced well to come from 12th to fifth for Hitech, just 0.1s ahead of Gabriel Bortoleto who was strong at the end on hard tyres. O’Sullivan took seventh in front of Dennis Hauger, Ritomo Miyata and Richard Verschooor, who shuffled Martins back to 11th at the end.

Sharing the ninth row of the grid, Prema’s Andrea Kimi Antonelli and Ollie Bearman struggled to make much progress before pitting for fresh tyres in the middle of the race, finishing 14th and 16th respectively.

Race result (23 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Zane Maloney Rodin Motorsport 42m13.726s
2 Jak Crawford DAMS +5.490s
3 Pepe Marti Campos Racing +7.057s
4 Isack Hadjar Campos Racing +9.783s
5 Paul Aron Hitech GP +18.188s
6 Gabriel Bortoleto Virtuosi Racing +18.320s
7 Zak O’Sullivan ART Grand Prix +20.135s
8 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport +21.032s
9 Ritomo Miyata Rodin Motorsport +21.490s
10 Richard Verschoor Trident +21.839s
11 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix +23.840s
12 Juan Manuel Correa DAMS +26.833s
13 Kush Maini Virtuosi Racing +27.246s
14 Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema +30.260s
15 Joshua Duerksen PHM Racing +35.257s
16 Ollie Bearman Prema +36.247s
17 Enzo Fittipaldi Van Amersfoort Racing +56.183s
18 Franco Colapinto MP Motorsport +1m04.819s
19 Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort Racing +1m21.558s
Ret Roman Stanek Trident
Ret Taylor Barnard PHM Racing
Ret Amaury Cordeel Hitech GP
Fastest lap: Fittipaldi, 1m45.833s