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O’Sullivan and Barnard get their first wins in Formula 2: MONACO REVIEW

Zak O’Sullivan and Taylor Barnard took their first ever win in Formula 2. Here’s a review of the championship’s weekend in Monaco

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Formula 2 returned to racing in Monte Carlo and delivered a dramatic Feature Race on Sunday.

Formula 2 made its way to the streets of Monte Carlo for Round 5 of the championship. The narrow historic street circuit saw 2 drivers take their first ever win in Formula 2. Here’s how the weekend unfolded

Practice

As is the nature of the Monaco circuit, it offers scheduling challenges, hence the practice started on an unusual Thursday. Victor Martins began the Monte Carlo weekend impressively by setting the fastest time in a rain-affected practice session with a lap of 1:39.237. ART Grand Prix’s Martins led the field ahead of Richard Verschoor and Dennis Hauger. Heavy rain made the circuit damp and tricky, with drivers initially struggling for grip. As conditions improved, Martins maintained his lead, with Hauger and Verschoor trailing. The session faced a red flag due to Franco Colapinto’s crash but resumed briefly before worsening rain led to teams calling their cars back to the pitlane. Martins remained fastest, followed by Hauger, Verschoor, Isack Hadjar, and Zak O’Sullivan.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – MAY 23: Victor Martins of France and ART Grand Prix (1) drives on track during practice ahead of Round 5 Monte Carlo of the Formula 2 Championship at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

QUALIFYING

Qualifying in Monaco follows a unique format, with drivers divided into two groups based on their driver numbers—odd numbers in one group and even numbers in another. For this weekend, the ballot held at the pre-race weekend Formula 2 Drivers’ briefing decided the two groups for Friday’s Qualifying session in Monte Carlo. Group A will be all 11 even-numbered cars while the odd-numbered cars will participate in Group B.

Each group, consisting of 11 drivers, has 16 minutes to set their fastest time. The driver with the best overall time across both groups earns pole position for the Feature Race, with the fastest driver from the other group joining them on the front row. The grid alternates between the groups, so if a driver from Group A secures pole, all drivers from Group A will line up on the right side of the grid.

GROUP A

After completing their first flying laps, Zak O’Sullivan from ART was the fastest, with a time of 1:23.118. This put him over half a second ahead of Isack Hadjar from Campos Racing.

O’Sullivan improved his time to 1:22.202, with Verschoor close behind at just 0.113s. As the session neared its end, Verschoor took the lead with a time of 1:21.283, followed by Hadjar and Colapinto. Despite final efforts, Verschoor’s time remained unbeaten.

GROUP B

After a short break, the second set of 11 drivers took to the track with Verschoor’s 1:21.283 as the target time for pole.

Early in the session, Rafael Villagómez crashed at Turn 1, bringing out the red flags. Once the track was clear, drivers resumed with nine minutes left. Zane Maloney initially topped the timesheets with a 1:21.941, but Victor Martins soon reclaimed the lead with a 1:21.310. Roman Stanek briefly led but crashed, ending his session. Paul Aron set a 1:21.347, placing second in Group B.

As a result, Verschoor took pole for Sunday’s feature race ahead of Victor Martins.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – MAY 24: <> during qualifying ahead of Round 5 Monte Carlo of the Formula 2 Championship at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by James Sutton – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Hadjar finished third, followed by Aron, Colapinto, and Stanek. Antonelli, Hauger, Bortoleto, and Barnard completed the top 10, with Barnard securing reverse grid pole for the Sprint Race.

After the Qualifying session concluded, three drivers received post-session penalties.

Oliver Bearman received a three-place grid drop for impeding Campos Racing’s Josep María Martí during a push lap. Juan Manuel Correa of DAMS Lucas Oil also received a three-place grid penalty for impeding PREMA Racing’s Andrea Kimi Antonelli during a push lap. Lastly, Kush Maini was given a three-place grid penalty for impeding Rodin Motorsport’s Zane Maloney. All the three drivers will serve their penalty in the next race (the upcoming sprint race)

SPRINT RACE

Taylor Barnard delivered a commanding performance starting from reverse grid Pole in the Monte Carlo Sprint Race, securing his and AIX Racing’s first Formula 2 victory.

Despite a slower start compared to Gabriel Bortoleto, who started alongside him on the front row, Barnard maintained his lead with Dennis Hauger slotting into third. The race saw interruptions with a Safety Car deployed due to Victor Martins’ crash early on with DAMS Lucas Oil’s Jak Crawford and Campos Racing’s Josep María Martí.

Barnard held onto his lead after each restart, with the race marked by incidents like Martí’s crash at the swimming pool section and Richard Verschoor’s damage from a collision. Meanwhile, Oliver Bearman faced challenges, including a slow moment that dropped him to P14.

Zane Maloney’s race ended at La Rascasse after he locked up into the corner before being sent into a spin by Juan Manuel Correa. This also left Maini without a place to go causing him to stop next to Maloney. With the track blocked, it triggered a Red Flag. Racing resumed on lap 26 with a rolling start and Barnard held on to his lead. Barnard crossed the line in first, giving him and AIX Racing their maiden Formula 2 victory. Bortoleto finished in P2 while Hauger followed him across the line to take P3.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – MAY 25: <> during the Round 5 Monte Carlo Sprint race of the Formula 2 Championship at Circuit de Monaco on May 25, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by James Sutton – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

“Starting in P1, I knew it was going to be a matter of trying to keep hold of P1 at the first corner. I dreamt about this last night, coming out of the first corner in first. We had a great car today and when I got in front, I could feel straight away that I had good pace, and I just managed the pace and the car throughout the race. The mini–Safety Cars and Virtual Safety Cars and one Red Flag didn’t make my life easy to say the least. Very happy, thank you to the whole team for the car they gave me today and really happy to get my first win in Monaco.”- Taylor Barnard, AIX Racing

Antonelli finished fourth for the third time in the last four races ahead of the second MP car of Franco Colapinto. Trident’s Roman Stanek finished in sixth ahead of Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Paul Aron with Campos Racing’s Isack Hadjar taking the final point in P8.

FEATURE RACE

Zak O’Sullivan clinched his first Formula 2 victory in a thrilling Monte Carlo Feature Race, capitalizing on a late Virtual Safety Car period to secure the win. Starting from P15, O’Sullivan opted for a longer first stint. A Virtual Safety Car caused by Joshua Duerksen’s stoppage on track worked in his favor, allowing him to pit and emerge in the lead on the penultimate lap. In the final lap, O’Sullivan held off Isack Hadjar to claim the victory, with Hadjar finishing second and Paul Aron taking third.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – MAY 26: <> during the Round 5 Monte Carlo Feature race of the Formula 2 Championship at Circuit de Monaco on May 26, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by James Sutton – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Here’s how the race unfolded:

Richard Verschoor made a strong start from Pole position for Trident, but Victor Martins struggled off the line, allowing Hadjar and Aron to move up. Further back, Gabriel Bortoleto made full use of his supersoft tyres to overtake Dennis Hauger and Oliver Bearman.

The race saw its first incident with Jak Crawford’s retiring after colliding with Kush Maini at turn 7.

The first round of pit stops came for everyone who started on super soft and it was Verschoor who held the net race lead, before losing it to Isack Hadjar on lap 25 who overtook him going into turn 1. Trouble continued for Verschoor, who kept losing places in the following laps and eventually retired after a penalty and ongoing issues.

On Lap 36, Hadjar hit the wall but continued, facing pressure from Aron. Meanwhile, Maloney and Barnard made contact, affecting their race.

Towards the end with 2 laps to go, everyone except O’Sullivan had made their mandatory pit stops and Isack Hadjar had the net race lead and was P2 on the road behind O’Sullivan. The drama unfolded as Joshua Duerksen, who was next to pit collided with Maloney at Turn 1. The AIX driver stopped on track while the Rodin Motorsport driver continued on.

This gave Zak O’Sullivan the chance to come in from the lead to complete his mandatory pit stop. He was called in by ART moments before the Virtual Safety Car was deployed, this was crucial as pit stops under the VSC don’t count towards the mandatory pit stop, but since O’Sullivan came in before the VSC was deployed, his stop under the VSC was legal.
O’Sullivan came out ahead of Hadjar and held him off in the final lap to take his maiden win in Formula 2.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – MAY 26: <> during the Round 5 Monte Carlo Feature race of the Formula 2 Championship at Circuit de Monaco on May 26, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Aron crossed the line to finish third to take the lead in the Drivers’ Championship. He finished ahead of Bearman in fourth and Correa in fifth, while Hauger wound up in sixth. Antonelli, ended up in P7 ahead of Bortoleto and Martins, as Maloney rounded out the points positions in 10th.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – MAY 26: <> during the Round 5 Monte Carlo Feature race of the Formula 2 Championship at Circuit de Monaco on May 26, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

“Just won the Feature Race in Monaco, bit of a crazy race starting from 15th, didn’t really expect it but pace was strong and again luck was on my side with the VSC at the end. But super happy for the team, it’s been a tricky start to the year but it’s finally good to get a big result and a big boost for the rest of the season.” – Zak O’Sullivan, ART Grand Prix

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Paul Aron’s consistent performance has propelled him to the top of the Drivers’ Championship, marking the first time this season that someone other than Zane Maloney leads. Aron’s fifth podium finish of the year has earned him 80 points, placing him ahead of Isack Hadjar by just two points, who now holds second place. Zane Maloney currently sits in third with 69 points, followed by Dennis Hauger in fourth with 56 points, and Gabriel Bortoleto rounding out the top five with 50 points.

In the Teams’ Standings, Campos Racing maintains its lead with 104 points. Hitech Pulse-Eight’s strong performance moves them up to second place with 95 points, narrowly ahead of MP Motorsport in third with 94 points. Rodin Motorsport slips to fourth with 85 points, while Invicta Racing completes the top five teams with 84 points.

UP NEXT

The championship will take a 3-week break before resuming things in Barcelona at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from June 21-23.

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Formula 2

Formula 2 Round 9 Preview: Top 5 storylines heading into Hungary

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Budapest hosts Formula 2 for Round 9 of the championship. The Hungaroring will be first stop of the double header before we head to the summer break. Here are DRC’s top 5 storylines heading into Budapest.
Read the Round 8 review here.

Hadjar will look to maintain his championship lead.

Hadjar has finally regained the championship lead that he lost to Paul Aron earlier in the season. In the last 6 Feature Races, Hadjar has 3 wins and 2 more podiums to his name. His worst result in those feature races was a fifth place finish in Barcelona.

(Photo by James Sutton – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Hadjar is currently 16 points ahead of second placed Paul Aron in the championship. The campos driver will be looking to extend this lead over the double header.

Aron looking to make a comeback after a disappointing Silverstone

Paul Aron went into Silverstone hoping to end his winless streak in Formula 2. Things didn’t go as planned and he failed to score a single point in Silverstone. Having scored a podium in each of the seven opening rounds, not scoring a point in the eighth round was disappointing. This resulted in Aron losing his championship lead to rival Isack Hadjar.

(Photo: Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

The Hitech driver will look to bounce back in Hungary. With just 16 points adrift of the top, a solid weekend can close that gap down. The results in Silverstone being majorly affected by his spin in qualifying. However, he was on provisional pole before the spin and showed good pace in the races as well. Aron will definitely be the one to watch as he now hunts for his first win and also the championship lead.

Zane Maloney looking to build on Silverstone success

Even though Maloney didn’t get a win in Silverstone, but 2 podiums in both races meant he had his second best weekend of the season so far. The Rodin driver won both races in Bahrain, getting a start people could only dream of. But, the form dipped with the Bajan scoring only 1 podium in the next 6 weekends. Silverstone was a turn in form with Maloney scoring two P2 finishes.

(Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

The solid weekend in Silverstone has put Maloney P3 in the championship standings. Coming into Budapest, Maloney will look to build on his success from last round.

Maini will look to turn his mixed weekends into solid ones

The Indian driver has scored 2 podiums in the last 3 rounds. But the performance is still far off from what people expected out of him. Having challenged for race wins and pole positions at the start of the year, that form has seen a dip since Imola. It was reported that he had a cracked chassis in Imola and Monaco. In Spain he had a brand new chassis and the form improved. Ever since then it has been a mixed bag of results.

Heading into Hungary, the Indian driver will be looking to put it all together and have a solid weekend. Hungaroring is also the track where Maini scored his first and only Formula 3 podium.

Teams’ title fight heating up

The 2024 Formula 2 teams’ title fight is intensely competitive, with Campos Racing currently leading by 23 points. Rodin Motorsport initially dominated, but their momentum waned, allowing teams like Hitech Pulse-Eight and MP Motorsport to close in. The top five teams are closely matched, with only 51 points separating them. As the season progresses, the standings are expected to remain volatile, setting the stage for a thrilling conclusion. With numerous races left, including unpredictable circuits like Baku and Lusail, the title fight is far from over.

(Photo- Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Schedule and Where to Watch.

You can watch Formula 2 live in India on F1TV and Fancode. The full weekend schedule is as follows.

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Formula 2

Isack Hadjar Retakes Championship Lead: Formula 2 Round 8

Isack Hadjar retook the championship lead in Silverstone. The Frenchman scored a pole and the Feature Race win to get back on top.

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Isack Hadjar took pole and a win in Silverstone to retake the Formula 2 championship lead in Silverstone. Here are the storylines from the weekend.

Disaster Weekend for Paul Aron

Paul Aron coming to Silverstone had a podium each round, this streak ended in Silverstone. Not only did he fail to score a podium, but he also didn’t score any points at all. The Estonian driver qualified P12 after making an error and spinning out with 10 minutes left in the session. This left him with major flat spots while everyone else improved their times. In the Sprint Race Aron collided with Martí and it left both out of the race. In the Feature Race, Aron finished outside the points in P12. Having lost his Championship lead, Aron would be looking to take it back in Hungary.

Hadjar gets the Pole and a Win

Isack Hadjar had a mixed weekend but most of it was on the good side. Qualifying on Pole, Hadjar started the Sprint race in P10. The Campos driver beached his car on lap 8 straight into Copse. The next day in the feature race Hadjar had a bad start starting from pole and fell back. Hadjar then drove brilliantly to come back into the race and was running P2 behind Crawford. A 5s time penalty for Crawford meant Hadjar who was only 2.5s behind would take the victory after the penalty was applied.

(Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Heading into Budapest as the championship leader, Hadjar would look to extend his lead on top.

“Race winner on Sunday, unfortunately not on track like we wanted. But still, it was a really fun race with lots going on and I managed to bring those points home. Already looking forward to Budapest.”

Isack Hadjar after the feature race

Zane Maloney takes Double Podium

Maloney didn’t get any race wins but scored 2 crucial podium finishes to climb up to 3rd in the championship standings. An uneventful sprint race as Maloney started P2 and finished P2 as well. The Feature Race however was anything but uneventful. The Bajan driver had a great start to move up 3 places. He then went on to manage his tyres and pace well to finish P2 after Crawford’s penalty. After scoring 0 points last weekend, Maloney would be happy to bounce back with two P2s.

(Image: Formula 2 via Getty Images)

Andrea Kimi Antonelli gets his first win.

The Mercedes Junior was having a lackluster season in Formula 2, delivering performances below everyone’s expectations of him. The prime candidate for the Mercedes seat, he had to step up to show everyone that he deserved the seat. Having started from the reverse grid pole in the Sprint Race, Kimi excelled in mixed conditions to finish P1.

“Got my first win, really happy with the result. It was a difficult race in difficult conditions, but we managed pretty well and I’m really happy to bring home the first win of the season.”

Andrea Kimi Antonelly

The feature race ended early for the Italian after being sent into a spin by Kush Maini on the opening lap. An overall decent weekend and the Sprint Race victory will only motivate him to push for being constantly at the front.

Image credits: Formula 2 via Getty Images

Mixed weekend for Kush Maini

The Indian driver had another mixed weekend in Silverstone, similar to what he had in Austria one week back. The pace was looking strong for Maini in qualifying, but traffic hampered his final push lap resulting in him qualifying P8. On the reverse grid for the Sprint Race, Maini started P3 and finished P3 too, but the race was not as simple as it looks like. The Alpine junior driver was holding position in mixed conditions after being under constant pressure from his teammate. On the last lap, Bortoleto made a move on Maini on the last corner, overtaking him to finish P3. Later on the stewards deemed the move illegal, as Bortoleto overtook outside the track. This resulted in Maini getting back the 3rd place.

In the feature race, Maini tapped Kimi from behind, sending the Prema driver into a spin and giving Maini damage. This forced Maini to make an early pit stop. After that, the race was pretty much uneventful for the Indian who crossed the finish line in P19. Maini also got a 10s time penalty for the opening lap incident, but that didn’t affect his finishing position.

Championship Standings

Isack Hadjar moves to the top of the Championship ahead of Paul Aron, 133 points to 117. Zane Maloney improved his position in third, now on 101 points with Gabriel Bortoleto fourth on 98. Franco Colapinto is P5 on 92 points.

In the Teams’ Standings, Campos Racing lead with 171 points ahead of MP Motorsport in second on 158. Invicta Racing are just two points back in third position, while Hitech Pulse-Eight and Rodin Motorsport round out the top five with 142 and 120 points respectively.

Formula 2 will take a week off and head to Budapest for Round 9 of the championship from July 19-21.

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Formula 2

Formula 2 Round 8: Last Leg of the Triple Header

Formula 2 makes it’s final stop of the triple header in Silverstone. Read Desi Racing Co’s preview for the weekend.

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It’s the final leg of the triple header and Formula 2 will be in town for Round 8 of the championship. Halfway through the season, and it still feels too early to call the championship. Here are the storylines heading into Round 8 of the Formula 2 championship.

Paul Aron is still at the top

The Estonian driver has continued his streak of scoring a podium in every round of the championship. A P3 in the Sprint and a P5 in the Feature Race helped Aron stay at the top of the championship. Still yet to win a race this year, he could be eyeing the top step in Silverstone.

Paul Aron of Hitech Pulse-Eight (17) (Photo by James Sutton – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Bortoleto is fresh off of a win

The reigning F3 champion got his first win in F2 last weekend in Austria. This helped the McLaren junior climb 3 spots from before in the championship standings. Sitting third in the championship, Bortoleto would look to build on his win last weekend and close the gap in the championship. Sitting just 32 points off the lead, the next few rounds could prove pivotal for the Brazilian if he wants to mount a championship challenge.

Gabriel Bortoleto of Invicta Racing (10) (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Win and a Promotion within a week for Bearman

Oliver Bearman had been having a lackluster season in Formula 2 till now. Having impressed in his Rookie season last year, there’s something about the new-gen cars that doesn’t click for Bearman. Coming into Austria the Prema driver had scored just 18 points in 5 rounds (he missed the Saudi round to fill in for Carlos Sainz). However, in Austria, the Ferrari Academy driver got his first win of the season. On the reverse grid, the Brit started on the front row, a good start helped him lead into turn 1 which he converted into a race win. It was announced today that Bearman will drive for Ferrari customer Haas F1 Team in 2025.

Can Kush bounce back from Austria?

Kush Maini had a disappointing time out in Austria. The Indian driver scored only 2 points in the weekend, both of which came in the sprint race. Having started on reverse grid Pole position for the sprint race, Kush failed to convert it into a win. He lost ground at the start and just couldn’t turn things around in the race, losing more positions to eventually finish 7th. In the feature race, he stalled on the grid, forcing him to start from the pitlane. To come back from a pitlane start in the race was a tough ask, especially when there were no safety car interruptions. The Alpine Academy driver finished 17th in the race.

Coming into Silverstone, Kush has said it’s his favourite track on the calendar. The Track has also given at least 1 F2 driver their first win in the championship since 2020. Could this be the fateful weekend that Kush needs?

FP1 outings for Junior Drivers

This weekend in FP1 we have a few of Formula 2 drivers making an appearance in Formula 1’s First Free Practice session.

Isack Hadjar will return to drive for Red Bull Racing, jumping into Sergio Perez’s car. He made two FP1 appearances in 2023 – one for AlphaTauri (now RB) in Mexico, and one for Red Bull in Abu Dhabi. Williams Junior Franco Colapinto will be with the British team. The MP Motorsport driver is 5th in the standings and enjoyed a Feature Race podium last time out in Austria. Oliver Bearman who’s already been confirmed to drive for Haas in 2025 will be making another Practice appearance for the team. Alpine reserve driver Jack Doohan will drive Pierre Gasly’s car in FP1 this weekend.

Timings and Where to Watch

You can watch all the sessions live in India on Fancode or F1TV. Full schedule of the weekend in IST is given below:

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