Crawford wraps up inaugural F3 campaign with strong fifth at Sochi

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Crawford wraps up inaugural F3 campaign with strong fifth at Sochi

Jak Crawford #10 Hitech GP, during round seven of the FIA Formula 3 Championship at Sochi Autodrom, in Russia on September 24 - 26, 2021. // SI202109260201 // Usage for editorial use only //

SOCHI, Russia (26 Sept. 2021) – Jak Crawford put lessons learned in his rookie season to make a strong finish in his inaugural FIA Formula 3 campaign, with the Red Bull Junior Team taking fifth on the final lap of the season at Sochi.

“The final race was really good, one of my best races of the season,” said the driver of the No. 10 Hitech Dallara Mecachrome. “We had some big battles in the first half of the race, and I had some of the best pace on track in the end. That was a good end to the season.”

The 16-year-old Formula 1 prospect from Texas – the youngest driver in the series – started 10th and demonstrated maturity by taking three positions at the start and then gradually working his way through the field.

“Race 3 was hectic the first couple of laps,” he said. “But when I got on my own, I was one of the quickest on track. I was happy with my speed at the end, and I got to fifth on the last lap. It was a good race for me, and I’m happy with the result.”

Crawford set the tone of the weekend by setting the 10th-fastest time in qualifying. The result marked another chapter in his continued improvement in this key segment of the F3 race weekends. Crawford improved over the season, with fifth at Red Bull Ring his best result.

At the Russian circuit on Friday, Crawford was seventh prior to a red flag midway through the 30-minute qualifying session. He improved to fourth, running 1:54.871-seconds with five minutes remaining, and even though he improved to 1:54.853-seconds on his final lap, the time placed him 10th on the session.

“It was a weird weekend,” Crawford said. “Qualifying was difficult. There was a lot of traffic, with the red flag and everything, plus it was very windy, as well. But in the end, qualifying in the top 10 put us in a good position for Race 1.”

By qualifying tenth, Crawford started third on the inverted grid for Race 1 – an event moved from Saturday morning to Friday evening due to anticipated inclement weather conditions. He got away in third at lights-out, racing against champion-elect Hauger. Crawford fell to fifth on lap 10 of 20, and gradually slipped back to an 11th-place result.

“In race one, we just didn’t have the pace, and I pushed too hard against faster cars in the beginning and wore out my tires too much,” he explained. “It was just a bit downhill in Race 1. We had the pace for the podium, anyway, but with my front tires degrading, it just made it worse.”

Saturday began with thunder and lightning at the circuit, forcing cancellation of Race 2.

“Race 2 was cancelled because of the terrible weather,” he said. “That was a shame, as we would have started P2 and up front in the wet I would have excelled such as in Spa.”

Crawford’s best finish of the year was second in Race 1 at Spa Francorchamps in August and he also scored points in all three races in the most recent race at Zandvoort, placing seventh, fourth and eighth.  The win that got away was at the Red Bull Ring in Race 2 when his motor blew when running at the front of the field.

“We left a lot of points on the table,” Crawford said of his F3 rookie season. “I really think a top 10 was definitely achievable. With some better luck, less mistakes, and a better car at some tracks I would have done better, but there were a lot of good things that have me looking forward to next year.”

Crawford will wrap up his 2021 season in the Euroformula Open finale on Oct. 22-24. He has four poles in as many attempts in the series, with six victories, two seconds and 10 fastest race laps.

“Barcelona isn’t my favorite track in the world, but we’ll see,” said Crawford, who slipped a position in the EFO standings after missing this weekend’s race at Monza due to the Sochi conflict. “Missing a bunch of rounds, 8-9 races in total, didn’t help me in the championship, but I just want to finish up a good season and win as many races as possible. That’s the goal.”


Images via Red Bull Content Pool
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