Isack Hadjar Bounces Back To Win In Melbourne

Isack Hadjar Bounces Back To Win In Melbourne
Isack Hadjar Bounces Back To Win In Melbourne

It was redemption day for Isack Hadjar as he claimed his second Formula 2 victory, winning the Melbourne Feature Race for Campos Racing.

After losing the Sprint Race win to a post-race penalty, the Frenchman drove a measured race to the top step, beating Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Paul Aron and Rodin Motorsport driver Zane Maloney, who finished second and third respectively.

AS IT HAPPENED

Dennis Hauger got the perfect start to lead Andrea Kimi Antonelli into Turn 1. Contact further back in the pack between Zak O’Sullivan and Roman Stanek left the Sprint winner spinning and put him last in the order. The ART Grand Prix driver was handed a 10-second time penalty for the incident.

Further around the first lap, Antonelli made a dive to the inside of the polesitter to secure P1 at Turn 11, but the MP driver responded on the following tour to retake the lead at Turn 9 with DRS.

A wide moment for Maloney out of Turn 12 allowed Kush Maini all the momentum he needed to take third and the Invicta Racing driver was up to second on Lap 6 after taking Antonelli before Turn 9 the following lap.

There was a brief virtual Safety Car on Lap 7 to recover Joshua Duerksen’s PHM AIX Racing car following contact with O’Sullivan at Turn 13.

Racing resumed and Maini was on the move with his medium tyres in better shape than those on supersofts. He took the lead from Hauger on Lap 9 with DRS before the Norwegian led Antonelli and the first of the leaders in for mandatory stops, filtering back out just outside of the top 10.

The polesitter’s day was over shortly afterwards though, as he crashed at Turn 6 to bring out the Virtual Safety Car on Lap 11.

Isack Hadjar made his mandatory stop before the VSC was deployed to come back out ahead of Antonelli on the road in 8th. The full Safety Car was then needed to recover Hauger’s car.

Hauger led early on but spun into the barriers after making his mandatory stop

The Safety Car was withdrawn on Lap 15 and Maini led five other drivers that were yet to pit for a mandatory stop. Hadjar, in seventh, the effective leader having completed his switch of compound, with Antonelli trailing the Campos driver just behind.

Hadjar cleared the yet-to-stop Taylor Barnard for sixth to put a car between himself and his closest rival. The Frenchman was on the move on the following lap, taking fifth from Enzo Fittipaldi at Turn 9.

The Campos driver’s charge continued at the expense of Stanek on Lap 20, easing by the Trident driver with DRS on the back straight.

Antonelli finally cleared Barnard, but the pair lost out to Paul Aron, who forced his way through at Turn 12 to take seventh position on the road ahead of the Italian.

Having cleared teammate Ritomo Miyata, Maloney was the next to pass Barnard to move himself up to ninth position and he set off in pursuit of the PREMA driver further up the road.

Lap 24 and with Stanek battling to stay ahead of Fittipaldi, the VAR driver ran out of room at Turn 4 to allow Aron, Antonelli and Maloney through for position. All three were able to pass the Trident before the end of the lap, though their battling had allowed Hadjar to escape up the road by five seconds.

The following lap, Maloney used DRS to clear Antonelli for position as his charge continued, effectively taking the final podium spot.

Yet to pit himself, Jak Crawford had been setting fastest times and caught Maini with three laps remaining. The DAMS Lucas Oil racer claimed temporary ownership of the lead but was in for his stop at the end of the lap along with the Indian driver.

Paul Aron made it three podiums in as many rounds finishing second to Hadjar

Their stops handed the race lead over to Hadjar, who kept Aron at bay to secure Feature Race victory for Campos Racing. P2 for the Hitech driver was his third trip to the rostrum of the season, while Championship leader Maloney rounded out the podium in third.

Antonelli wound up fourth in the end in his PREMA, followed by Miyata, Richard Verschoor, Franco Colapinto, Rafael Villagómez, Victor Martins and Oliver Bearman, who completed the top 10.

Isack Hadjar, Campos Racing

“Finally a race winner of a Formula 2 Feature Race. It feels great to do it here in Melbourne especially, it’s such an amazing track. Really happy and see you in Imola!”

THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Another top three finish keeps Zane Maloney atop the Drivers’ Championship table as he moves onto 62 points. Paul Aron assumes second place after another podium for the rookie, lifting himself onto 48. Dennis Hauger is now third after his non-score, still on 41 points, while Isack Hadjar’s win moves him into fourth on 34. Kush Maini rounds out the top five with 33 points.

Rodin Motorsport return to the top of the Teams’ Standings, now on 78 points. Campos Racing move up to second place with 60 to their tally, tied with MP Motorsport but two clear of Hitech Pulse-Eight, who move up to fourth. Invicta Racing complete the top five heading to Imola with 48.

UP NEXT

Formula 2 has an in-season test ahead of Round 4, with teams and drivers getting three days in Barcelona from April 23-25. We return for the next race weekend at Imola, from May 17-19.

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