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Isack Hadjar admits he ‘couldn’t see what was going on’ during ‘stressful’ Sprint start

Written by Caitlyn Gordon, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Hadjar provides his thoughts on the messy Sprint race start; Credits: Joe Portlock

Formula two’s weekend in Melbourne hadn’t been shy of caution, with both practice and qualifying having its fair share of yellow flags. This was the case even in the Sprint race, with a safety car being brought out not even one turn into the race.

The F2 Sprint had Roman Stanek on reverse pole, with Gabriel Bortoleto, Isack Hadjar and Pepe Martí just behind the pole-sitter. Hadjar, starting on the left, got a great getaway when the five lights announced the start of the race. 

Bortoleto and Martí (left) with Hadjar darting past the incident; Credits: Formula2

However, not anticipating his teammate behind him to have the same fast getaway as himself, the Frenchman moved his Campos Racing car to the right, catching Martí off-guard and having to back away from the situation to avoid any damage. 

Whilst doing this, the Spainiard had contact with Gabriel Bortoleto who had a slower start, the pair both spun out on the pit-lane, ending both of their races.

Hadjar luckily left the situation unscathed, taking the lead from Stanek. The Red Bull-backed driver led the field for the rest of the race, and was unperturbed just a couple of laps into the Sprint, crossing with a six-second gap to Stanek. 

However, post-race, the situation was being assessed by the stewards who ruled that Hadjar was ‘predominantly’ at fault for the crash on Lap one, and received a 10-second penalty.

The stewards’ report stated: ‘Video evidence showed that a few seconds after the start of the race car 20 [Hadjar] moved significantly to the right to get a run on the car in front of him [car 23, Stanek] without realising that car 21 [Martí] had a significant portion of his car alongside him.

‘This move caused car 21 to move slightly to the right to take avoiding action. As a result, car 21 made contact with car 10 [Bortoleto]. A second contact occurred between car 20 and 21.’ 

‘The stewards determined that car 20 was predominantly to blame for the collision and decided to impose a 10-second penalty plus two penalty points.’

After receiving the penalty, Hadjar spoke out about the incident giving his take on what happened:

“It [the start] was quite stressful. I had a good launch and then I tried to go for the move on Roman.” Hadjar said, speaking to Feeder Series.

“I didn’t see what was going on on my right-hand side and I just had contact. That was it really.”

“I just drove my race, I didn’t see what happened, really. I was just focusing on taking the lead.”

Apart from providing his thoughts on the situation, Hadjar went on to speak about the bad luck that has hindered him in the past year-and-a-half:

“Since Bahrain, we’ve had a really competitive car. [We are] just super unlucky … we lost a lot of points, but the car’s been super quick and really consistent,”

Hadjar went on to secure Sunday’s Feature race, taking the lead on the last lap and securing a win in Australia that will stand. The result see’s the Frenchman jump up the championship standings, currently fourth with 34 points.


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