F2: Hauger holds his nerve in lights-to-flag Melbourne victory

Dennis Hauger made history as he became Formula 2’s first-ever winner on the streets of Melbourne. Starting on reverse grid pole, the MP Motorsport driver retained the lead off the line and held it throughout the 22 laps, keeping his cool despite the ever-changing weather conditions and a two-lap sprint to the finish.

Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Jak Crawford converted a front row start to a maiden podium finish in second. Fellow rookie Kush Maini held Arthur Leclerc at bay for his first piece of silverware with Campos Racing.


A pre-race downpour left the field facing a slippery but drying Albert Park Circuit. However, only 20 cars would line up on the grid after Enzo Fittipaldi and Ralph Boschung both spun at Turn 8 on the reconnaissance lap.

Hauger got a mighty getaway at lights out, but Crawford was able to match his fellow Red Bull junior. Going side by side down the back straight to Turn 11 on the opening lap, the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver eventually had to yield, allowing Hauger to hold the lead.

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Soft tire runners Leclerc and Victor Martins immediately put their red-walled rubber to use from fourth and seventh, respectively. The pair went three-wide with Oliver Bearman in the battle over fourth, with the DAMS driver diving up the inside of his fellow Ferrari junior, and Martins swiftly following suit.

After achieving pole yesterday, Ayumu Iwasa’s race unraveled early on. Fighting to hold off Zane Maloney and Isack Hadjar, the Japanese driver suffered a puncture and was forced to pit for fresh tires, dropping him to the back of the order.

Having dispatched Iwasa, Maloney sent a move up the apex of Turn 11 on Bearman, leaving the PREMA Racing driver no opportunity to defend P6. Meanwhile, Leclerc squirreled his way through into the podium positions at Turn 10 on Lap 7, but Maini wasn’t relinquishing it without a fight. Brave on the brakes, the Campos Racing driver got the switchback done, regaining the place in the next corner.

Still glued nose to tail, Maloney took full advantage of the DRS train. Martins found himself stuck in the middle of a three-car pincer movement, with Bearman attempting to dive up the Alpine junior’s outside and Maloney around the outside. Without a twitch of nerves, the Rodin Carlin stuck at it to take fifth.

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Their battle allowed Hadjar and Frederik Vesti to join the fray, with the Hitech driver getting past Bearman, who was then overtaken by his PREMA Racing teammate, and fellow Frenchman Martins.

Jack Doohan’s day came to an early end after being tapped from behind by Juan Manuel Correa. It prompted a Safety Car appearance which coincided with spots of rain on the track and several drivers gambled on a switch to the wets.

The field continued running behind the Safety Car for an additional two laps after Brad Benavides outbraked himself into Turn 13 and found the barriers.

As the rain faded away, it was a two-lap dash to the checkered flag. Nailing his restart, Hauger held firm out front to bring home his third victory in the Championship ahead of Crawford and Maini.

Leclerc’s well-worn softs left him vulnerable to Maloney. Making his DAMS car as wide as possible, the Monégasque got his elbows out to hold on to fourth. Hadjar claimed sixth, whilst Bearman repaid the favor to Vesti to retake seventh on the final lap.

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KEY QUOTE – Dennis Hauger, MP Motorsport

“Just finished Race 1, really happy with it obviously. It was a tough one, a bit of wet and a bit of dry, but overall, we stayed calm. Really happy to finally get the win this season, so just got to keep on going for tomorrow.”


Despite not scoring in the Sprint Race Ralph Boschung remains at the top of the standings with 33 points, holding a one-point advantage over Théo Pourchaire in second. Ayumu Iwasa sits third, while victory has promoted Dennis Hauger to fourth on 30 points, one ahead of Frederik Vesti.

Campos Racing retain their hold on the Teams’ Championship on 57 points, three clear of MP Motorsport and six ahead of DAMS in third.


Iwasa will be hoping he can reign triumphant down under in Sunday’s Feature Race, as he’ll be leading the pack from pole position. The 33–lap race is scheduled to get underway at 11:35 local time.

Race Results

Pos No. Driver Team Laps Behind Gap
1 1 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport 22 0.000 0.000
2 9 Jak Crawford Hitech Pulse-Eight 22 1.120 1.120
3 24 Kush Maini Campos Racing 22 1.716 0.596
4 12 Arthur Leclerc DAMS 22 2.064 0.348
5 3 Zane Maloney Rodin Carlin 22 2.447 0.383
6 10 Isack Hadjar Hitech Pulse-Eight 22 2.842 0.395
7 8 Oliver Bearman Prema Powerteam 22 4.858 2.016
8 7 Frederik Vesti Prema Powerteam 22 5.299 0.441
9 16 Roy Nissany PHM Racing by Charouz 22 5.591 0.292
10 22 Richard Verschoor Van Amersfoort Racing 22 5.759 0.168
11 21 Clement Novalak Trident 22 6.417 0.658
12 15 Amaury Cordeel Invicta Virtuosi Racing 22 11.851 5.434
13 11 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS 22 12.395 0.544
14 23 Juan Manuel Correa Van Amersfoort Racing 22 16.816 4.421
15 6 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix 22 36.640 19.824
16 20 Roman Staněk Trident 22 37.222 0.582
17 2 Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport 22 41.076 3.854
18 5 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 20 2 Laps 2 Laps
dnf 17 Brad Benavides PHM Racing by Charouz 16
dnf 14 Jack Doohan Invicta Virtuosi Racing 13
dnf 25 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 21
dnf 4 Enzo Fittipaldi Rodin Carlin 21
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