Crawford Takes Dominant F2 Feature Race victory at Barcelona

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Crawford Takes Dominant F2 Feature Race victory at Barcelona

Barcelona (ESP), JUNE 20 - 23 2024 - Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Barcelona - Catalunya. Jak CRAWFORD #7 Dams. © 2024 Dutch Photo Agency

19-year-old Texan qualifies second, takes fourth in Sprint Race

BARCELONA, Spain (23 June 2024) – After some tough racing luck in the previous rounds, Jak Crawford needed a bounce-back weekend for his FIA Formula 2 season and he got it in Barcelona, taking a commanding victory in the Feature Race after placing fourth in Saturday’s Sprint Race in Round 6 of the championship.

The 19-year-old Texan scored his first F2 Feature Race triumph, having won last year’s Sprint Race at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.

Boosted by his pace and perfect strategy calls by DAMS Lucas Oil, Crawford backed up his pre-race prediction that he would be fighting for the victory in the 37-lap race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The victory skyrocketed him to fourth from 10th in the F2 standings with 62 points.

“Honestly, this is huge, getting a double-podium for the team,” Crawford said. “Our season has not been going well in the last few rounds, and this was a perfect weekend with the qualifying and the Feature Race. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Starting on soft-compound tires from the outside of the front row for the Feature, Crawford went off in second position. He was the first driver using the alternate tire to pit, rejoining the event in 17th place on the harder compound. When the pole sitter pitted three laps later, Crawford caught and passed him in Turn 3 on his out lap.

That put Crawford in seventh, but in the virtual race lead as the first-place driver using the alternate strategy. Gradually, the leaders pitted for their mandatory stops. The last driver on the harder compound came in with nine laps remaining, giving Crawford the overall lead by 3.6-seconds. From there, it was a matter of managing the pace and the tires as Crawford went unchallenged for the victory.

“Honestly, at the beginning of the race, I didn’t think I was doing so well,” Crawford said. “I was not very quick on the soft and I had degradation, so I was forced to box early because third place would have overtaken me. But we nailed the strategy when we did the undercut. I had two of my quickest out laps, and I was able to gap the guys behind me. I was pushing. That put me in front, and from there it was managing the tires. There was always some doubt. Luckily, we were able to save the tires and stay consistent for the whole race.”

Crawford demonstrated strong pace all weekend. Fourth in Friday’s practice, he used a late flying lap to post the second-fastest time in qualifying.

“Practice was good and we seemed to have quick speed straight-away,” he said. “Qualifying is a different story. We were quite far off the pace. We put on a new set of tires and made a quick change, which was sort of a shot in the dark, and it was exactly what we needed. We just missed the pole by two-thousandths of a second, and it was a great result.

“We’ve always said we needed a clean qualifying and we’ll be up there, and that’s exactly what happened. We were fighting for pole, but we know our strength is in the race.”

Tire management was crucial in Friday’s Sprint Race. With the top-10 qualifiers inverted (plus a penalty), Crawford was gridded eighth but fell back to ninth at the start – holding that position for 12 of the 22 laps to preserve his tires. As laps clicked down, he worked his way forward. Crawford passed three contenders – including one on the final lap – and added two positions due to rivals’ track limits violations to take fourth.

“I had a good start, but I lost two positions on the first lap, which was unfortunate,” he said. “We had really good speed throughout the race, and it was lots of fun.”

Crawford will not have much time to savor his victory, with F2 traveling to Austria for the June 29-30 races at Spielberg, where he finished first and eighth last year. Then, it’s on to Silverstone the following weekend.

“Spielberg is where I won last year, and where I had my Formula 1 test,” he said. “Going back there with confidence from Barcelona makes it even better. This was perfect timing, it’s huge to have the momentum with four race weekends coming up in five weeks.”