Jak Crawford raises a trophy in his right hand and puts two left-hand fingers in the air

Crawford: ‘I feel a lot more confident’ in Melbourne after maiden F2 podium

After scoring no points in his first two rounds in Formula 2, Hitech GP’s Jak Crawford achieved his first podium in the series in the sprint race at Albert Park with second place. After the race, the American driver explained the impact that Hitech’s strong pace in Melbourne has had on his confidence.

By Tyler Foster

Stepping up to F2 after finishing seventh with Prema in F3 last year, Crawford, aged 17, reunited with Hitech, his 2021 F3 team. But having been outscored by his teammate and fellow Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar in the opening two F2 rounds this year, Crawford needed a result.

Since arriving in Melbourne, Crawford has looked much more assured than before, finishing fourth in free practice on Friday before qualifying ninth. The pace of the Hitech car this weekend has been among the best on the grid, and despite his inexperience in F2, Crawford has been competitive all weekend.

“I feel a lot more confident. Right out of the gate in FP, we were up there by the first push,” he told Feeder Series “Every lap we did in free practice was always in the top three or four positions, whether it was me or Isack [Hadjar]. We made a lot of improvements since Jeddah and it gives me a lot of confidence going forwards.”

Following the torrential rainfall that affected qualifying on Friday, the track surface provided a completely different challenge for the sprint race on Saturday, which Crawford started second. On the first lap, it looked as though reverse-grid polesitter Dennis Hauger would lose his lead to a charging Crawford, who attempted a pass around the outside of Turn 9, but the Norwegian held on to the top spot. That meant the American had to settle for second and a maiden podium in Formula 2.

“We were struggling a bit on pace the first two weekends, and finally we have some good pace this weekend in both dry and wet conditions. It means a lot. It was a difficult race. Especially under the safety car and before the race, I was stressing a bit because of the mixed conditions, which were difficult to judge. In the end, [I’m] really happy, and it gives a good confidence boost for the rest of the season,” he said.

“I was pushing a lot when the track was [in] mixed conditions to try and overtake Dennis . It was really difficult to judge. I was just trying to overtake him in the first few laps. Then when the DRS was enabled, I was also pushing a lot to try and overtake at the beginning, and I just lost my tyres in the end trying to stay in DRS.”

Header photo credit: Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool

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