Isack Hadjar Holds Off Gabriel Bortoleto To Take F2 Victory In Imola

Isack Hadjar Holds Off Gabriel Bortoleto To Take F2 Victory In Imola
Isack Hadjar Holds Off Gabriel Bortoleto To Take F2 Victory In Imola

Isack Hadjar claimed a hard-fought second victory of the season after coming through from third on the grid to win the Imola Feature Race for Campos Racing.

The Frenchman put out a stellar defensive display late on to hold the charging Invicta Racing car of Gabriel Bortoleto at bay, the Brazilian was forced to settle for second. AIX Racing’s Joshua Duerksen finished third, claiming his and the team’s first F2 podium.

Pole-sitter Bortoleto suffered a slow getaway and dropped down to fourth at the start giving Oliver Bearman the lead of the line. This promoted Hadjar up to second, while Duerksen went to P3 from fifth on the grid.

Bearman though was struggling to pull away from Hadjar and the Frenchman well within DRS range by the end of Lap 4.

The conclusion of Lap 6 brought the first pit stops, with Hadjar and Duerksen swapping their Supersofts for the Mediums. Also coming into the pitlane was Zane Maloney and Roman Stanek, the latter jumping ahead of the Rodin Motorsport driver during the exchange.

Bearman then led a gaggle of cars including Bortoleto, Franco Colapinto and Paul Aron into the pitlane on the next lap. The PREMA driver stalled twice as he tried to pull away, handing Hadjar the effective race lead, while the Briton dropped to the back of the field.

With all the Supersoft-shod drivers having pitted by Lap 10, it left the Prime tyre runners out on track. Amaury Cordeel was now leading Josep María Martí, Juan Manuel Correa, Victor Martins, Kush Maini, and Rafael Villagómez.

Bearman led the Feature race in the inital stages before losing out in the report

Back in the battle for the effective race lead, Bortoleto was closing the gap to Hadjar. The Campos driver’s two second lead now just 1.3s by the end of Lap 16.

Further back, there was frustration for Maloney, who was being held up by Stanek and on Lap 17, the Championship leader could see Jak Crawford, Richard Verschoor and Dennis Hauger closing in on his wing mirrors.

Maloney was beginning to struggle and after giving the Bajan driver the hurry up on the radio Crawford made the move past him at the exit of Turn 7. The American driver was quickly onto the back of Stanek, before making his way past at Tamburello on Lap 25.

By Lap 30, the drivers on the alternative strategy were beginning to pit, but it was two bad stops for Cordeel and Martí, as both drivers had tyres come off their cars as they looked to come back out on track, ruling them out of the race.

Back on track, Bortoleto had closed right up to Hadjar, but the Frenchman was proving tough in defence. The Red Bull junior did just enough in the end to take his second Feature Race victory in F2, with Bortoleto settling for second, while Duerksen ran a strong race to third to become the first driver from Paraguay on the podium in F2.

Home favourite Antonelli took fourth place ahead of Colaptino and Aron. Crawford and Correa made it two DAMS Lucas Oil cars in the points for P7 and P8, while Victor Martins came through from the back of the field to finish in ninth ahead of Trident’s Richard Verschoor.

Duerksen sealed his and AIX Racings first podium in Formula 2

Isack Hadjar, Campos Racing

“Really happy with the Feature Race win today after yesterday’s disappointment. Unbelievable job by the team, it was a really intense race with Gabriel, but we were really flying today and to take that win is great, so on to Monaco now.”

THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Zane Maloney retains his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship despite finishing 11th. However, his lead has been reduced to Paul Aron is now just five points, while Isack Hadjar enters into the top three. His 59 points means he is now just nine away from Maloney. Gabriel Bortoleto also gained big in Imola and is now fifth in the Championship with 38 points.

There is however now a change in the Teams’ Standings as Hadjar’s victory gives Campos Racing 85 points and puts them at the top of the leaderboard by one point from Rodin Motorsport. Hitech Pulse-Eight are in third place with 78 points, just ahead of MP Motorsport, while Invicta Racing continue to round out the top five.

UP NEXT

We will not have to wait too long to see the drivers out on track as they now head to Monte Carlo for Round 5 of the 2024 season, and that will take place from May 23-26.

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