F2: Hauger seizes victory in wet-dry Albert Park Sprint
Dennis Hauger became the first Formula 2 driver to stand on the top step in Melbourne, as he claimed the opening Sprint Race win of the weekend. The Red Bull junior held on to the lead from reverse grid pole and didn’t relinquish it despite some late drizzle causing drama.
Jak Crawford put Hauger under pressure to turn a front row start into his maiden points and podium finish in second. Kush Maini showed his overtaking chops at Albert Park to take his first piece of F2 silverware in third.
With pre-race rain leaving the circuit slippery, only 20 cars would line up on the grid, after Enzo Fittipaldi and championship leader Ralph Boschung spun out on the reconnaissance lap.
As Hauger retained the lead at lights out, Arthur Leclerc and Victor Martins made use of the alternative strategy. Using the soft rubber, they made their way through on Oliver Bearman for fourth, who then lost out to fellow rookie Zane Maloney.
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Duelling back and forth throughout Lap 7, Leclerc slithered his way past Maini at Turn 10, but the Indian driver wasn’t having it. Catching the Ferrari junior out, the Campos Racing driver nailed the switchback into Turn 11 to regain third, whilst Maloney executed the perfect pincer movement to get past Martins for fifth.
Home racer Jack Doohan’s race came to an early end on Lap 14, after the Alpine junior was tagged from behind, bringing out the Safety Car as spots of rain began to fall.
Left with a two-lap dash to the line, Hauger kept his foot to the floor to pull away from Crawford and Maini. Leclerc kept Maloney at bay to retain fourth, Isack Hadjar gave Hitech double points in sixth. Bearman avenged his team mate Frederik Vesti’s early overtake to reclaim seventh on the final lap.
Ayumu Iwasa will get the Feature Race underway from pole, when the lights go out on Sunday at 1135 local time.