Promising Pace but no luck for Jak Crawford in Barcelona

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Promising Pace but no luck for Jak Crawford in Barcelona

Jak Crawford #9 Hitech GP, during round seven of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, on Jun 2-4, 2023. // Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202306030319 // Usage for editorial use only //

BARCELONA (5 June 2023) – Jak Crawford battled back to take an 13th-place finish in Sunday’s FIA Formula 2 Championship Feature Race at Barcelona, wrapping up a tough weekend for the 18-year-old rookie.

After being eliminated on the opening lap of Saturday’s Sprint Race, the Texan’s Hitech Pulse-Eight Racing driver opted for an alternate tire strategy for the longer race on Sunday.

Qualifying ninth, Crawford started the race on the harder compound, and moved up to third as the cars that started on the softer compound pitted. He returned to the event in 17th with 13 laps remaining, and was able to gain six positions in the closing laps. While he took the checkered flag in 11th, a track-limits violation left him classified in 13th.

“It was a tough weekend,” Crawford said. “Very disappointing, with no points.”

The weekend started with Crawford in 20th for the lone practice session on Friday.

“We had a mechanical issue in practice, and that kept us from getting a good time,” he said. “It was difficult to get a feel for how the car was.”

Later in the day, he improved to qualify ninth – his fifth-consecutive weekend qualifying in the top 10.

“I was able to get in a good qualifying lap,” Crawford said. “However, it was only good enough for ninth, but that put us on the front row for the Sprint Race.”

The Sprint Race started in steady rain at the 14-turn, 2.874-mile circuit, and the start proved to be a disaster. Crawford got off cleanly in second, but a rival made a move to the outside and then cut on the Texan at the corner entry – damaging his wheel in the process. The incident put him out of the event, halting a streak of three-consecutive podium finishes in Sprint events.

“I felt I was in a pretty good position for the Sprint Race,” he said. “I thought we might be in good position for the win, or at least another podium. But I wound up not getting enough room in the first turn, and the light contact broke my left-front toe link, that left the tire pointing in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, that was the end of our race. I think we could have finished on the podium, with the changeable conditions and with everything that happened in the race.”

Sunday’s Feature saw Crawford quickly gain a position to take eighth.

“We tried starting off on the harder tire, with the goal of going to the softer tire later in the race,” he said. “I made a really good start and was running in P3. However, we didn’t quite have the pace on the hard compound  so it was very difficult and we lost a lot of time at the end of our stint on the hard tires. Then, we had a slow pit stop, that put us even farther back. I think that the most we had the pace for was around ninth or 10th. We just missed a bit on the pace.”

After three free weekends, Crawford returns to action July 1-2 at the friendly confines of Red Bull Ring in Spielburg, Austria.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to the Red Bull Ring,” he said. “That is one of my favorite tracks, and we will do a lot of hard work to rebound for Red Bull Ring. July has four races in five weekends, so I’m looking ahead to a busy month of F2 racing.”