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Breakthrough F3 Weekend for Crawford

Jak Crawford #5 Prema, during the round 2 of the FIA Formula 3 Championship at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy on April 22 - 24, 2022. // Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202204240160 // Usage for editorial use only //

Double-podium at Imola

IMOLA, Italy (24 April 2022) – Jak Crawford enjoyed a breakthrough weekend in the second round of the FIA Formula 3 campaign, coming through with a pair of late-race charges to finish third and second at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

The results saw 16-year-old Texan Red Bull Junior Team driver leapfrog from 10th all the way up to fourth in the championship standings, trailing the co-leaders by only four points, 36-32. Jak was looking for a good result after a disappointing opening weekend at Bahrain due mostly to a mechanical issue in qualifying, where he failed to finish the opening race and took seventh in the Feature.

“This gives me a ton of confidence,” said Crawford, who matched his career-best finish in F3. “Obviously P3 in Quali, P3 in the reverse grid, and P2 in the in the Feature Race. So really consistent, solid results. We were always up there during the weekend and scored lots of points. It gives me a lot of confidence after Bahrain, where I didn’t have a good round.  If it had been a full dry weekend, I am certain we could have done even better.”

Crawford set the tone of the weekend in qualifying. A late red-flag stoppage left the competitors with time for only one final lap at speed, with Crawford tumbling from eighth to 20th with time running out. He made the best of his lap, clocking in at third fastest.

“I’m pleased with P3 because it was a really difficult session with the changing conditions,” he said. “There was time left on the table. On the last lap, I had some traffic in the first sector but the track was really dry in Sector 3 so I think I nailed it. I was only one-tenth away from pole so it’s a bit disappointing,  but really happy with the top three considering the start to the season we had with car problems in Bahrain.”

Saturday’s 20-lap Sprint Race had Crawford starting ninth on the inverted grid. He worked up to fifth, when a late caution set up a four-lap dash to the checkered flag. Attempting a pass and getting shoved wide, Crawford survived going wide into the gravel in a move for fourth, and then avoided another incident on his way to taking third. Sprinting to the checkered flag, he missed second by the width of his front wing a side-by-side finish.

“[The race] was a lot of safety cars,’ Crawford said. “It was a mess. There was always something happening behind me or in front of me. I said we got a bit lucky to get into third by the end. But the pace was absolutely insane and without the yellow flags we could have won maybe. We were so quick, especially in the second half of the race.”

Sunday began in treacherous conditions on a drying circuit. Starting on slick tires with a good but not great start, he fell to ninth as competitors who gambled with starting on rain tires moved up through the field. The track slowly dried out, sending the rain-tire brigade to the pits as Crawford regained third. With laps running down, the top two pulled away with Crawford in pursuit. With with two laps left, Crawford made up a three-second gap to catch the leaders. He grabbed second at the beginning of the final lap, and charged to make up 1.6-seconds on the leader –coming home only 0.654-seconds in arrears at the checkered flag.

“I mean for sure we could have won,” Crawford said. “I struggled a bit at the beginning just getting my tires warmed up and after that, you’re always playing catch up. I just missed a bit myself at the beginning, but in the end it really paid off, because the final five laps I was always really, really flying. It’s a shame we didn’t get the win, but I’m still really happy with the second this weekend.”

The 3.05-mile circuit is one of Crawford’s favorites. Last July, he won two races and finished a close second in Euroformula Open action, in addition to pole position and three fastest race laps. In 2020, he won a Formula 4 race at the circuit.

“It’s just a really fun track to drive at,” Crawford said. “It’s an old school track. You can be all over the curbs. It’s really high speed, and yeah, I just really love to drive here. It brings out the best in you.”

Seven weekends remain on the 2022 schedule. Next up is a visit to Barcelona on May 19-21. Crawford made his F3 debut in last year’s event, with a best finish ninth among the three weekend races. Last October, he won a pair of races there to end his Euroformula Open campaign on a high note.

Images via Red Bull Content pool