Crawford overcomes challenges with double-points weekend in Austria

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Crawford overcomes challenges with double-points weekend in Austria

Spielberg (AUT) JUN 27-JUN 2024 - F1 Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring. Jak CRAWFORD #7 Dams. © 2024 Dutch Photo Agency

SPIELBERG, Austria (1 July 2024) – Fast but unlucky, Jak Crawford had a pair of scintillating drives through the field to score points in both races in the seventh FIA Formula 2 weekend of the season at the Red Bull Ring.

The 19-year-old Texan drove from 14th to an impressive sixth in Saturday’s Sprint Race. On Sunday, he encountered clutch issues and was forced to start in the pits. The DAMS Lucas Oil driver charged from 20th to second position before his mandatory pit stop, and gained three positions in the closing laps to place 10th.

 “I felt great in all the sessions this weekend, apart from qualifying, and was delighted with the performance across both races to pick up further points.” said the Aston Martin Development Driver. “I’m happy with the speed we’ve been showing. I just wish I could have enjoyed today’s race a little more.”

Crawford carried his momentum from last week’s Feature Race victory at Barcelona to Friday’s opening practice, where he timed in a close third. Qualifying on the super-soft tire didn’t work out however, as he placed 14th.

“Practice was good, straight-away, and we used the philosophy that worked so well for us at Barcelona, which was good confirmation for us,” said Crawford. “But we struggled to figure out our super-soft tire in qualifying, and we struggled with the car because of that. We have some work to do there. It’s really unfortunate, because I feel our car is ready – it’s just a matter of making the tires work around it.”

Starting 14th in the Sprint Race, Crawford gained two positions on the opening lap, went to 11th on Lap 2, and then rode in 11th position for the next 17 rounds of the 28-lap event. He then began to move, taking three positions in the final two laps. Of his eight positions gained, seven were by passes and one by a competitor’s spin.

“The Sprint Race was a great race,” Crawford said. “It confirmed our speed. I had a good start and was up to 11th by the second lap. Then I just bided my time, was nice and smooth, and very patient compared to the guys around me. The last nine laps or so I went up the field, and managed my tires perfectly.”

Crawford’s Feature Race seemed doomed before it even started, when his car stalled as the field peeled away for the formation lap. That forced him to start from pit road after the remainder of the field sprinted away following lights-out.

He joined the race in 20th, gained two positions, and then moved to eighth by lap 10 as several of the competitors who opted on super-soft tires made their mandatory stops. Crawford was up to third with 11 laps remaining, and then made a pass to take second. He pitted for super-soft tires with six laps remaining, falling to 13th. He gained a position on the final lap, and nearly took another as he crossed the stripe side-by-side with another competitor.

“I had a clutch issue and it was frustrating to stall before the Feature Race, but the pace was excellent again, coming from the pit lane to get into the top-10,” he said.  “I obviously had a big gap to catch up to the rest of the field. We were hoping for a safety car to catch us back up, but I had to use my tires a bit more to catch up. In the end, that wasn’t the best for our race. It’s hard to tell how it would have come down, but I think we could have scored a top-five result today.”

Next up, Crawford returns to Silverstone this weekend (July 6-7), where he finished 10th in last year’s feature race.

“I’m really looking forward to Silverstone,” he said. “It’s a track I really like, a high-speed track. I didn’t do amazing there last year, but things are going really well now, and I think the track suits our car, as well. It should be a very positive weekend for us.”