Hauger holds nerve in tricky conditions to convert pole to sprint race win

Formula 2

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Dennis Hauger survived a late restart and kept his cool to convert reverse grid pole into sprint race victory at Albert Park ahead of Jak Crawford.

In a race where light rain added a degree of difficulty for drivers over the 22 laps, Hauger was never headed and led home Crawford by just over a second with Kush Maini repelling a race-long assault from Arthur Leclerc to claim third.

After rain had fallen in the dying minutes of final F1 practice, the Albert Park circuit was still damp as drivers headed out onto the circuit on their reconnaissance laps. The lack of grip caught out both Enzo Fittipaldi and points leader Ralph Boschung, who spun on their way to the grid and did not start.

The start was delayed, forcing the drivers to wait an extra five minutes to get F2’s first race in Australis underway. When the lights went out, pole winner Dennis Hauger successfully held the lead into turn one with Jak Crawford keeping second place.

Crawford challenged Hauger along the back straight into the fast chicane of turns nine and ten, but had to slot back into second. Behind them, a melee behind saw feature race pole winner Ayumu Iwasa pick up a puncture from contact with Zane Maloney, forcing him to pit.

Kush Maini ran third but came under pressure from Arthur Leclerc behind. Leclerc appeared to take the position from the Campos driver into the fast chicane along Lakeside Drive, but Maini dived back down the inside of his DAMS rival into turn 11 to keep the place.

Hauger continued to lead but Crawford kept well within a second of him in his pursuit of the leader. Leclerc had another look to the inside of Maini on the run to the chicane, but was aggressively rebuffed, leading to vocal complaints from Leclerc over team radio.

Around the mid point of the race, drivers started to receiving warnings that more rain main soon be on the way. A major multi-car battle over fifth place broke out between Maloney, Isack Hadjar and Victor Martins the Premas of Frederick Vesti and Oliver Bearman, but despite fighting among each other across the entire final sector, all five successfully avoided tripping over each other.

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As rain started to fall on lap 14, Jack Doohan in 12th was hit by Juan Manuel Correa into turn three, spinning the Virtuosi driver into a stall and retirement. With Doohan’s car stranded, the Safety Car was deployed as rain began falling more heavily around the circuit.

Back in the pack, Theo Pourchaire, Roman Stanek and Amaury Cordeel pitted for wet weather tyres, with Stanek running off the road at turn one on the way out of the pit lane. Those in the points remained out on dry tyres, but the rain stopped almost as quickly as it arrived, appearing to validate the leaders’ decision to stick with slicks.

The Safety Car was supposed to be called in at the end of lap 18, but the restart was abandoned when Brad Benevides skidded off track at turn 13 and found the wall. After three more laps behind the Safety Car, the race finally restarted on the penultimate lap with Hauger leading away from Crawford and Maini, the latter stalked by Leclerc.

Those who gambled for wet weather tyres inevitably struggled on the dry track as the race restarted, dropping well off the back of the pack over the first green flag lap. Pourchaire ran off the circuit at turn 12 with his tyres clearly overheating, and eventually pulled into the pits to retire.

But out front, nothing was going to prevent Hauger from securing his first victory of the season. He completed the final lap to take the chequered flag and the sprint race victory. Crawford secured his first Formula 2 podium in second, just over a second behind Hauger, while Maini held off Leclerc to take the final place on the rostrum in third.

Maloney took fifth place ahead of Hadjar and the two Prema drivers of Bearman and Vesti. Roy Nissany and Richard Verschoor completed the top ten.

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Formula 2 Australia race one results

Position Car Driver Team
1 1 Dennis Hauger MP
2 9 Jak Crawford Hitech
3 24 Kush Maini Campos
4 12 Arthur Leclerc DAMS
5 3 Zane Maloney Rodin Carlin
6 10 Isack Hadjar Hitech
7 8 Ollie Bearman Prema
8 7 Frederik Vesti Prema
9 16 Roy Nissany PHM Racing by Charouz
10 22 Richard Verschoor Van Amersfoort
11 21 Clement Novalak Trident
12 15 Amaury Cordeel Virtuosi
13 11 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS
14 23 Juan Manuel Correa Van Amersfoort
15 6 Victor Martins ART
16 20 Roman Staněk Trident
17 2 Jehan Daruvala MP
18 5 Theo Pourchaire ART
DNF 17 Brad Benavides PHM Racing by Charouz
DNF 14 Jack Doohan Virtuosi
DNF 25 Ralph Boschung Campos
DNF Enzo Fittipaldi Rodin Carlin

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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1 comments on “Hauger holds nerve in tricky conditions to convert pole to sprint race win”

  1. Pretty good race. Looking forward to F2 and F3 again tomorrow.
    Support categories have all been great here so far.

    Pressure is on F1 to be better. “The pinnacle”……

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