Home Featured Monaco F2 defeat “painful” for Hadjar, unaware of O’Sullivan threat

Monaco F2 defeat “painful” for Hadjar, unaware of O’Sullivan threat

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Red Bull

Isack Hadjar experienced a “really painful” defeat in the Formula 2 feature race at Monaco as Zak O’Sullivan snatched the victory away from him in the last laps.

The Campos Racing driver was on course to claim his third Sunday victory in a row in a hectic race. However, a virtual safety car on lap 40 of 42 caught him and his team off guard while ART Grand Prix’s Zak O’Sullivan, who had been yet to pit, benefitted.

The F2 regulations state that drivers cannot make their mandatory pit-stops under VSC but O’Sullivan was already in the pit-lane when it was deployed. Therefore, he was able to gain time and emerge comfortably ahead of Hadjar before the track went green again for the last one-and-a-half laps.

Hadjar went through a rollercoaster of emotions and described the race as “really weird”. Having gained the net lead after Richard Verschoor slowed with a technical issue, he was incredibly angry on the radio on the cool-down lap as he struggled to understand how the victory had slipped out of his hands. Still, he is now up to second place in the drivers’ standings, just two points behind new leader Paul Aron.

I was really happy about the second place because I knew it was gonna be where I was about to finish with Richard being the leader,” he told media including Formula Scout after the race. “Then we got super lucky, he got super unlucky as well. Then at the end, I got unlucky.

“So second, if you told me this morning I would end the feature race second, I would sign it, you know, starting from third. But the way we lost it at the end is really painful. And that’s why I got super mad. But all good now.”

Hadjar reckoned “the strategy was spot on” and was pleased with how he and his team had executed the race up to the last laps. However, they could have done more to avoid the defeat. “There was definitely margin to push” and close O’Sullivan’s safety car window while he was in free air in the closing stages, he admitted.

“I wasn’t aware of Zak at that time, honestly. Going into the last few laps, I thought it [the victory] was in the bag. So I think that was clear for me and my engineer. And then this happened. So I just have to look into it more in detail because I don’t really understand what happened there. But definitely I had more pace than that.”

Conversely, O’Sullivan did know about the bigger picture.

“I was aware for the last five, six laps that we were in the fight for the win,” the Williams junior said. “For five laps I had been within the safety car pit window. I didn’t even need to take that much risk coming out of the pit-lane with the delta time etc. under the VSC.

“Even without a safety car, we would have had still quite a strong result.”