Maloney and Rodin Complete Bahrain Double

Maloney and Rodin Complete Bahrain Double

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Rodin Motorsport’s Zane Maloney took victory in the opening FIA Formula 2 Feature Race of 2024 in Bahrain. 

The ‘Boy from Barbados’ delivered a masterclass, managing two Safety Car restarts on his way to victory.

Maloney, from Bridgetown, leaped from third on the grid at the start to take the lead at Turn 1, scything past front-row pair Gabriel Bortoleto and Isack Hadjar.

Maloney won the opening Sprint Race of the season on Friday and now holds a strong early championship lead.

Campos Racing’s Pepe Martí finished second on his F2 debut, ahead of Hitech Pulse Eight’s Paul Aron – another F2 rookie.

Maloney launches title bid with dominant weekend

Maloney’s race was set up by his electric start, launching from third to first on soft tyres.

Pole-sitter Bortoleto was sluggish away and Maloney duelled with Hadjar into Turn 1, snatching the lead. Meanwhile, Bortoleto tipped Hadjar into a spin, ending the Frenchman’s race.

Brazilian Bortoleto was handed a 10 second time penalty for his error.

After a short Safety Car period, Maloney built a comfortable lead ahead of ART’s Zak O’Sullivan.

The race ability of the new F2 car was put on show as Dutch driver Richard Verschoor made some feisty moves through the top 10.

With the majority of the field running the hard compound Pirelli tyres, we waited to see how the strategy would play out and it quickly appeared that the soft tyres could last and give good pace.

ART’s Victor Martins was the first to ditch the hard tyres on Lap 10, vaulting him up the order.

DAMS Lucas Oil’s Jak Crawford was the first soft tyre runner to make a pit stop, but his race was brought to end when his engine shut down and the team were unable to restart it.

Maloney pitted from the lead on Lap 18, just before Martins suffered a mechanical failure, losing drive and meaning a second Safety Car was needed.

Now on the hard tyres, with O’Sullivan behind on softs, and 10 laps remaining, Maloney looked to be under pressure.

But the Barbadian perfectly executed the restart, quickly opening up a comfortable lead of 1.4 seconds – which continued growing to the end of the race.

O’Sullivan’s hopes of a podium evaporated as his soft tyres struggled in the Bahrain heat, with Marti and Aron passing the Williams Academy driver in the closing laps.

But no one was able to match Maloney, who cruised to a second victory of the weekend.

Image: James Gasperotti

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