Hadjar Survives First Lap Collision to Win Sprint Race in Australia

Hadjar Survives First Lap Collision to Win Sprint Race in Australia

HADJARRSR

Isack Hadjar took the chequered flag to win the dramatic FIA Formula Sprint Race in Australia for Campos Racing.

Roman Stanek fended off Dennis Hauger in the closing few turns at the end of the race that had drama from the moments the lights went out.

Pole-sitter Stanek got a good start but couldn’t hold the lead into Turn 1. Hadjar survived contact with fellow Red Bull Junior Pepe Martí in the chaotic opening metres to take first place.

Gabriel Bortoleto started poorly and immediately collided with Martí, eliminating both drivers from the Sprint Race.

The Safety Car was deployed on the opening lap to clear away the stricken Campos Racing and Invicta Racing cars.

Hadjar led as the race was neutralised ahead of Stanek, with Estonian driver Paul Aron in third place.

Further down the field, Victor Martins improved from a lowly 21st on the grid to 13th place. British driver Oliver Bearman also moved up from 16th to 14th.

Six laps into the race, the Safety Car came in. Hadjar returned to racing speed and quickly built a sizeable advantage over his nearest rival as Martins passed Joshua Dürksen for P12.

The championship leader, Zane Maloney, ran wide into the gravel at Turn 6, losing multiple places and dropping to 10th place.

Critically, Hadjar didn’t allow Stanek to use the DRS as he built a gap more significant than one second over the Trident driver.

Stanek, in second place, soon fell into Aron’s clutches, which led to a queue of cars behind him. 

10 laps into the race, carnage ensued. Aron attempted to pass Stanek at Turn 11, while Antonelli tried to capitalise on the squabbling pair.

Both the PREMA driver and Richard Verschoor, battling the Italian, spun in synchrony at the next turn, forcing them to retire.

The Safety Car was deployed for a second time to remove the Trident and PREMA cars. The interruption also cancelled out Hadjar’s significant lead. Having avoided the chaos, Martins held eighth place in a measured drive. 

The Safety Car came in with nine laps to go; Hadjar perfected the restart once more, pulling away from Stanek as Kush Maini sat in third place.

The Indian driver challenged for second place and tried every trick in the book to get past.

Hadjar continued to drive peerlessly up front as Maini attacked the Trident at Turn 9 but couldn’t make the move stick. The MP Motorsport pair Dennis Hauger and Franco Colapinto closed the gap with five laps to go.

In the closing laps, 7th place changed hands as Martins passed his team mate Zak O’Sullivan at Turn 11 in a decisive, late-braking move.

Stanek defended stoutly ahead of the chasing pack as Hauger dove to the inside of Maini at Turn 3 on the penultimate lap but couldn’t pass the 23-year-old.

The Norwegian stayed close to his rival and bravely overtook the Invicta Racing car around the outside at Turn 9.

Hauger will start from pole position in the Feature Race on Sunday, which sees 25 points for victory rather than 10 for the Sprint Race.

Image: Formula Motorsport Limited

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