Isack Hadjar, Zak O'Sullivan, Paul Aron, Formula 2, Monaco, 2024

O’Sullivan stuns furious Hadjar as VSC hands him Monaco win

Formula 2

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Williams junior Zak O’Sullivan claimed his first victory in Formula 2 thanks to a fortunately-timed Virtual Safety Car period at the end of the race.

O’Sullivan started down in 15th place and ran an extremely long opening stint, hoping to capitalise on a late Safety Car appearance.

After every other driver had pitted, a late Virtual Safety Car with three laps to go allowed him to pit and rejoin seconds ahead of Hadjar. The Red Bull junior driver had looked on course to win and was outraged by the turn of events. Paul Aron took the final podium place in third and moved into the championship lead.

Hadjar arrived in the lead through the misfortune of pole winner Richard Verschoor. The Trident driver held the lead off the line while Victor Martins alongside him made a very poor start and fell to 14th on the opening lap, allowing Hadjar into second.

Verschoor led from pole before technical trouble intervened
Verschoor looked to be in control out front as he pulled a modest gap over Hadjar behind, until suddenly reporting a problem with his car exiting Portier on lap 19. Despite slowing out of the tunnel and missing the chicane, Verschoor suddenly appeared to get back up to speed.

That allowed Verschoor to continue in the lead heading into the pit stop cycle, with Hadjar the first of the leaders to pit. Verschoor came in soon after and rejoined ahead of the Campos driver. However, Verschoor’s problem appeared to resurface and was clearly affecting his top speed. He had no defence as Hadjar drove around him on the pit straight to take the net lead of the race.

Verschoor continued to slip down the order with Paul Aron and Oliver Bearman getting by. He was then hit with a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage for missing the chicane on lap 19, effectively ending his race. A disgusted Verschoor threw his steering wheel from the cockpit before he came to a stop in the pits, prompting another investigation by the stewards.

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Out front, Dennis Hauger led the race after being told by his team to extend his first stint as long as possible in hope of a Safety Car. However, none came and he eventually pitted, rejoining behind Juan Manuel Correa as the fifth-highest placed driver to have pitted.

Once Joshua Duerksen and Victor Martins pitted, O’Sullivan was the last driver still to come in. But Duerksen tangled with Zane Maloney as he rejoined and pulled off-track at Casino Square. That prompted a Virtual Safety Car period.

Drivers are not allowed to pit under a VSC, but the quick-thinking ART team had O’Sullivan in the pits before it was deployed. He was therefore able to legally complete his mandatory stop and rejoin the track ahead of Hadjar who was constricted by the VSC delta into the lead.

O’Sullivan held off Hadjar over the final two tours to take the chequered flag and victory. An enraged Hadjar vented at his Campos team on the cool-down lap.

“Man, you know what? Don’t answer me,” he said “I don’t want to talk. It’s a joke.”

“Man, you can’t say ‘P2’,” Hadjar continued. “You can’t say that. No! Man, can you believe what just happened or not? It’s a joke.”

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Aron finished third and with it assumed the championship lead ahead of the low-scoring Maloney. Ferrari junior Bearman was fourth ahead of Correa, with Hauger taking sixth.

Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli finished seventh ahead of McLaren junior Gabriel Bortoleto, with Martins recovering to ninth and Maloney taking the final point in tenth.

The next Formula 2 round will take place at Circuit de Catalunya as part of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend in June.

Formula 2 Monaco race two results

Position Car Driver Team
1 2 Zak O’Sullivan ART
2 20 Isack Hadjar Campos
3 17 Paul Aron Hitech
4 3 Ollie Bearman Prema
5 8 Juan Manuel Correa DAMS
6 11 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport
7 4 Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema
8 10 Gabriel Bortoleto Invicta
9 1 Victor Martins ART
10 5 Zane Maloney Rodin
11 25 Taylor Barnard AIX
12 14 Enzo Fittipaldi Van Amersfoort
13 12 Franco Colapinto MP Motorsport
14 21 Josep Maria Marti Campos
15 6 Ritomo Miyata Rodin
16 23 Roman Stanek Trident
17 9 Kush Maini Invicta
18 24 Joshua Duerksen AIX
DNF 22 Richard Verschoor Trident
DNF 15 Rafael Villagomez Van Amersfoort
DNF 16 Amaury Cordeel Hitech
DNF 7 Jak Crawford DAMS

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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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10 comments on “O’Sullivan stuns furious Hadjar as VSC hands him Monaco win”

  1. Best race of the season, honestly. Feel bad for Verschoor though.

  2. The roll of the dice worked perfectly for O’Sullivan, got more 6’s than could ever hoped, gaining 14 places to win it.
    Gutted for Hadjar, I think Campos should’ve seen it coming and told the driver to push.
    Even more heartbreaking for Verschoor.

  3. Gutted for Verschoor.

  4. The safety car neutralisations need a rethink. As the fields get ever closer, either because of BoP like in sportscars, spec cars like in Indycar and F2, or highly prescriptive regulations and development freezes like in F1, the impact of these safety car neutralisations becomes greater and greater. Especially when combined with mandatory pitstop that are allowed under said neutralisation.

    Safety is important, but resetting the competition need not be an inevitable byproduct.

    1. Nah. I don’t think anything should be done. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose with the Safety Cars or VSCs.

      1. I don’t care too much about the drivers in this case, even though it’s easy to see why Hadjar is frustrated.

        But as a viewer I also find it a objectionable. If a sport expects me to invest an hour or more into a race, and then just says ‘forget that, we’re doing a big reset now’ then I’ll pass and stick to the highlights instead.

        It’s not like many other sports where positions on the field can be reestablished within seconds in the event of brief stops. In racing it can take ten, twenty minutes to build a gap. To have that wiped away is super unfair. Especially when the vast majority of safety cars are only called because the race director has lost the confidence to use local yellow flags. By contrast; last year at Le Mans there were even lengthy barrier repairs under local yellow; it’s totally doable.

        1. As a viewer I find it objectionable for motorsport not to have neutralization moments like that. It’s one of the things that makes motorsport exciting. It ensures a certain amount of jeapordy and forces teams and drivers to be prepared for all possibilities and one of the things that set it apart form other sports. Motorsport isn’t inherently fair either, you can be wiped out by another driver through no fault of your own too and you have no recourse. It’s about expecting and surviving (relatively) unexpected outcomes and dealing with them.

          In addition, in this specific case the VSC is designed to make everyone stay where they are as much as possible and pits are not allowed. It’s just that O’Sullivan was already in the pits before it activated and this it did not apply to him. The very same non-neutralization policies you advocated for are the same ones that prevented Hadjar from winning this race.

          1. They called the VSC without reason, and the guy who plowed in to Zane (I believe) probably did so on purpose. Who joins back from the pits without checking left in their mirrors. Stewards succeeded in fixing another race. great job Stewards, why don’t we just strap those guys instead of the drivers, on to some fine swine and butter, I think it would be more entertaining myself, maybe let the drivers decide when the pigs achieve fan boost. Yeah, strap a fan on to the pigs, like those swamp boats, it would be a hoot, and more representative of what the FIA are really trying to achieve.

          2. What utter nonsense @pcxmac. I believe that’s on purpose though.

    2. They’re fine as it is. No need to fix what isn’t broken.

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