Impressive Weekend for Crawford in Baku

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Impressive Weekend for Crawford in Baku

Jak Crawford #9 Hitech GP, during Round four of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at Baku City Circuit, on April 27-30 2023, Azerbaijan. // Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202304291117 // Usage for editorial use only //

BAKU, Azerbaijan (1 May 2023) – Rising star Jak Crawford had another impressive weekend in FIA Formula 2 Championship competition, scoring both a Sprint podium and points-paying Feature finish in the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan.

The Texan Red Bull Junior Team driver took third in Saturday’s Sprint race, and then had a steady drive to take 9h in Sunday’s Feature. Entering the weekend with eight points, Crawford added seven more points to his total following an incident-free event.

“It was a good weekend for us, with another podium, which is good to see,” Crawford said. “I would like to score more points in the Feature race – I feel we have potential to score a lot more points – and I think it’s only a matter of time before we figure things out.”

After running 14th in opening practice, Crawford put himself in position by qualifying seventh.

“We were just a bit unlucky in practice,” he explained. “Our speed was there, straightaway, but I got a bit unlucky timing the red flag, and I never got to display my speed in practice.”

In qualifying, Crawford was 11th at the start of his final lap, but shot up to second at the checkered flag with a lap of 1:53.139-seconds. He fell to seventh in a wild finish that saw the top spot change hands several times, eventually missing the pole by only 0.487-seconds.

“Qualifying went well, and I felt I maximized everything out of the car,” he said. “We were still four- or five-tenths off, but it was our best qualifying of the season so far. We are definitely improving as a team, and I myself as well. It was quite a good last lap, but I was thinking we were a little bit better than seventh at the end.”

Crawford managed to miss a melee at the start of Saturday’s Sprint race, falling to fifth on a safety car intervention.

“It was a wild start,” he said. “We were right in the thick of it. The Sprint race was crazy at the beginning, and then it was nice and calm in the middle of the race. Then it got crazy again at the end.”

He was sixth at the first restart, and ran in that position when a pair of safety car periods slowed the action in the closing lap. He had a great restart with three laps remaining – moving to third and was challenging for second when a race-ending caution waved after the top-two competitors – and many behind them – piled up at the restart.

“We got lucky at the end,” he said. “There was no gap; there was Styrofoam flying in my face! I was minding my own business, and everyone crashed and I was third. I wish they let us race until the end of the lap, because I think I could have gotten second position, but I’m super-happy with third.”

Crawford started seventh for Sunday’s Feature race, which got off to a clean start as he made a good pass to take sixth. He held that position through the 13th lap, when he pitted to move from super-soft tires to the medium compound.

“The opening laps went really good for us, and I was feeling confident,” he said. “We were fighting for a top-five position, which is where we wanted to be. But when we went out on the medium tire, we had no warm-up and lost a lot of time. At the end, the pace was OK, but we lost too much time building up the tires. We were quick at the finish, but we just missed it at the middle of the race with the tires, and that cost us a lot of time.”

Next up for the F2 competitors is Imola on May 20-21.

“Imola is my favorite track, and I’ve had good results there,” he said. “I’m going into there really confident, with another podium in the bag, and I can’t wait for the weekend. I think it will be very good.”

Images via Red Bull Content Pool