Hauger ‘Didn’t Expect’ Last-Gasp P3 in Jeddah Feature Race

Hauger ‘Didn’t Expect’ Last-Gasp P3 in Jeddah Feature Race

Hauger lifts trophy on podium

MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger took third place by coming out on top in a spectacular drag race to the chequered flag in the F2 Feature Race in Jeddah.

Hauger usurped DAMS’ Jak Crawford by just 0.031s and Hitech GP’s Amaury Cordeel by 0.158s after 28 laps of racing around the high-speed Jeddah Corniche Circuit. The Norwegian had started the lap fifth, more than a second behind Cordeel, who was running the alternate strategy of starting the race on medium tyres and switching to supersofts.

Hauger spent much of the race in the upper midfield battle, but a podium did not appear a realistic possibility until the very end of the race. This was, as he explained, partly down to the difficulty of completing overtakes while stuck in the so-called DRS train around the track.

All but three drivers adopted the option-prime strategy, limiting the chances that differences in tyre wear would induce position changes. Of the three on the alternate prime-option strategy, Cordeel was the only one to have finished in the points.

“I think the top 10 started on the same strategy,” Hauger said. “Obviously seeing Cordeel suddenly in the top three, fighting for the podium, I didn’t expect that in the beginning of the race.

“Overall, I think the prime-option is quite quick around there, but it has to go in the right direction. I guess it did for some guys, but overall, no surprises. I think we were all driving around our pace on the same strategy and did our race.”

Hauger, who started the race sixth, pitted at the first possible opportunity on Lap 6 and remained in a net sixth place for most of the race, behind Prema Racing rookie Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

As a seven-car queue formed behind Kush Maini, Hauger made a lunge into Turn 1 on Lap 25 but ran deep into the corner, forcing Antonelli to take evasive action through the run-off area as well. The Mercedes junior kept the place but was noted by the stewards for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

Hauger finally got past Antonelli on the 27th of 28 laps around the outside of Turn 1. While he was within a second of Crawford and thus could use DRS, he was not close enough to make a move, nor was the American able to pass his Belgian counterpart.

The gaps between Cordeel, Crawford and Hauger closed over the remaining two laps until the final corner, when Crawford dove down the inside of Cordeel as Hauger swept around the outside, then cut back to Crawford’s inside to outdrag the DAMS driver to the line.

“I was really trying to get by Kimi for most of the race after the pit stops, and it was hard with the train,” Hauger told InsideF2 after the race. “When I finally did, it freed up a bit for me in terms of pace. I could push a bit more to get to the next pack.

“I think we showed that straight away, after one and a half lap, we were right behind Jak again to try to get by. I didn’t expect it because it was such a train and so hard to get by, but overall [I’m] happy we managed to get a good result and some good points.”

Hauger leaves Jeddah third in the standings, one point behind Feature Race winner Enzo Fittipaldi and 16 behind championship leader Zane Maloney.

Credit: Formula Motorsport Limited

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Hauger lifts trophy on podium

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