After a rained off Saturday Sprint race, that saw nobody score any points, all the drivers were pinning their chance for points on the feature race. Doohan was looking to continue his late season charge, Prema's Fredrik Vesti who started 3rd was looking to take the Championship lead back from former ART Racing team mate Theo Pourchaire plus Ollie Bearman & Victor Martins needed to score well to keep themselves in with a chance of the Championship.
But Zandvoort had different ideas for all of them in what turned out to be an incredible race of 2 very different halves.
Feature Race @ Zandvoort- Very Damp Track
Pourchaire had made good in all the chaos of the rolling start and got himself up to 6th and when the safety car came in on lap 3 and the 2nd rolling start took place it was a much cleaner 1st lap with just Iwasa going for a big move on Maini finding himself off the track at turn 1. Lap 6 and the pitstops start, the 4 cars who gambled on rain and started on the full wets were the first cars in, quickly followed by the dry tyre runners with degradation higher than expected.
As the dry tyre runners started to pit Pourchaire saw his chance to gain another position by leap frogging Hadjar in the pits, which he did, despite almost crashing into the Redbull Academy driver at the pit entry.
Racing resumed on lap 17 and a brilliant move around the outside of turn 1 by Maloney on Crawford put him up to 2nd, but it wouldn't be Formula 2 with out restart drama and after fighting from the restart Bearman & Martins came together at the exit of turn 3 were Martins ran Bearman off the road and into a wall, earning himself a 10 second grid penalty, the incident put Bearman out of the race while Martins continued in 5th.
Local man Vershoor had a strong finish to catch up with the front 3 and finish 4th, Martins brought the car home in 5th but after his penalty was applied he finished 9th. Iwasa didnt have such a strong finish almost crashing out at the last corner of the last lap, by tapping the wall with the finish line in sight.
So the only man in the top 6 of the Championship standing to score any points this weekend was Martins, and with the races left in 2023 rapidly running out the hunt for points at Monza will be a desperate one. Its not possible to predict the next 10 seconds in Formula 2 let alone 10 days but we look forward to a seriously close battle for the title in the driver and team standings.
Sunday Feature Race Result
Writer @ F1 Journal
The race started behind the safety car with a rolling start, Hadjar lead the field into turn 1 and despite going deep into the corner held on to 1st from a very fast Martins ready to take the position from him. Ollie Bearman made a great move on Juan Manual Correa for 3rd at the first corner while Hauger ended up very wide into the first corner putting 2 wheels on the grass.
Writer F1 Journal
FIA Formula 2 returns after the summer break at the mighty Zandvoort, with only 3 events and 6 races to go in their season. Theo Pourchaire leads the championship by a small margin over former ART team mate and current Prema man Fredrik Vesti, after the Danish driver had a miserable Spa weekend. But the championship is far from over with drivers down to 5th in the championship fight such as Jack Doohan who has had a late season resurgence of form still in the fight. Martin, Iwasa & Hauger are also not drivers you can count out just yet.
Luck though was on Crawfords side and with 7 minutes to go Daruvela crashed and caused a Red flag before his closest rivals could complete a flying lap. With 7 minutes on the clock, running restarted and multiple drivers were on great laps Doohan was on a lap, Crawford, Hauger, Bearman and Vesti were all flying, when Juan Manuel Correa brought out another Red flag after being on 'full send' for his flying lap, pushed to hard and parked the car in the gravel, also on a more successful 'full send' lap Hauger was meters from the line when the Red flag was called meaning his lap wasn't classified and he lost a lap that would have beaten Crawford's for Pole.
The final running began with just 3 minutes and 46 seconds on the clock and in a much more orderly manor than earlier in qualifying all the cars made their way onto the track and again there where purple sectors popping up all over the track and we were set for over 10 drivers that could have fought it out for pole but it wasn't meant to be and Novalak brought out a 3rd and final Red flag and with 46 seconds on the clock, the Stewards called no more running and Jack Crawford's brilliant first run had got him pole, despite a very rapid Dennis Hauger always being close to taking it.
Theo Pourchaire had a tough qualifying never really seeming comfortable with his ART Racing car , but will start on reverse grid pole for tomorrows Sprint race and 10th for the Sunday Feature race while his closest rival Vesti took 3rd in qualifying and will start 8th for the Sprint race.
A very exciting Sprint tomorrow that could have a decent effect on the both Championships.
Writer @ F1 Journal