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Hauger clinches maiden pole position in Australia

Written by Caitlyn Gordon, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri


Credit: Parcferme

Formula 2 took to the streets of Melbourne for its third round of the season. Leading the standings is Zane Maloney after a dominant weekend in Bahrain he sits with 47 points. 


The Barbadian did the double in Sakhir, putting on a perfect performance to kick off a new campaign. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, didn’t go as planned for the Rodin driver, who qualified down in 16th. Despite softening the blow slightly by finishing fourth and seventh respectively, Enzo Fittipaldi jumped up the standings with a Feature Race win, placing himself 15 points behind Maloney.


Oliver Bearman returns to Formula 2 paddock after a successful Formula 1 debut. The Briton was called up to stand in for Carlos Sainz, who underwent emergency appendicitis surgery. 


Although his car secured pole position for the Feature Race, Bearman lost out on his two points after PREMA withdrew the car from the race, meaning this weekend is crucial for the Briton to grab as many points as possible, currently sitting last in the standings.


Heading into qualifying, Dennis Hauger was the man to beat in practice, setting the fastest time of 1:29.654. Isack Hadjar crossed the line just 0.001 seconds behind the Norwegian, however, a late red flag meant Hadjar couldn’t get another try around the track. Antonelli was up in the mix, setting the third fastest time.


Qualifying gets underway in Australia


The drivers headed out to the circuit for their first flying laps, it was Paul Aron who set the time to beat, a 1:53.245. 


Credits: Formula 2

However, not many drivers had a chance to better it after Victor Martins spun in Turn 20 and brought out the session’s first red flag. This is part of a series of disappointing sessions from the Frenchman, who hasn’t secured any points in the opening rounds. The incident means the ART driver will start last for both races.


Once the car was cleared from the track, the drivers headed back out. Kush Maini who has secured pole position in both rounds - however, was disqualified after technical breaches in Bahrain - put in the next fastest time of 1:30.359. The Indian never held onto the position for long, as Aron once again went to the top of the sheets, this time entering into the 1.29’s. 


It soon became a battle between Hauger and Aron for pole, the Norwegian slotted his car right behind Aron's just 0.003’s off his time. Hauger’s had a strong start to the weekend and looking to climb up the standings ladder, the MP driver has been tough to contend with.


The second red flag was brought out by Jak Crawford, who spun onto the gravel with less than 10 minutes remaining. The American had struggled a lot during this season, after complaining about a puncture on his DAMs car in the beginning stages of the session. 


The red flag that was brought out significantly disadvantaged both Bearman and Maini’s flying laps, with the latter setting purple sectors. 


The final chances for pole


Once Crawford’s car was cleared away, the grid had one final flying lap shot at putting in a perfect qualifying time. 


Credit: Formula 2

Unsurprisingly, it was Hauger who set the fastest lap of 1.29.694, securing his maiden pole position. Just behind him, the rest of the grid came flying through the start/finish line with times. 


Antonelli grabbed the second place, earning a spot on the front-row, with Verschoor rounding out the top three. The other PREMA, however, faced a difficult weekend in qualifying, with poorly-timed red and yellow flags, the Briton placed his car in 16th, a result he won’t be best pleased with, after his times suggested he could be in contention for pole. 


The Championship leader, lands himself in fifth position, just behind the yellow Invicta Racing of Maini.


Having qualified tenth on the grid, Trident’s Roman Stanek will start tomorrow’s Sprint Race in reverse pole position. 


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