F2 Spain: Crawford victorious as Correa gets podium retribution

Jack Crawford became the 10th different winner of the Formula 2 season after executing an undercut strategy on championship leader Paul Aron in the Spanish feature race.

Crawford proved his pace across the weekend to take his first win of the season from Franco Colapinto and Juan Manuel Correa, with the latter making the alternate strategy work to claim a first podium since making his F2 return after his horror crash at Spa in 2019, and after being stripped of a podium on Saturday.

It was a composed start for polesitter Paul Aron at the front who led Crawford and Colapinto into the first corner, but there was chaos behind as Saturday’s sprint race winner, Victor Martins, got tangled with Dennis Hauger and caused the safety car to be called into early action.

Hauger, who started on the soft tyre, had made a rocket start and had climbed six positions before he climbed across the Turn 2 kerbs and bounced his MP Motorsport entry into the side of Martins’ ART.

With tyre wear extremely high at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, AIX driver Joshua Durksen began to make moves through the front order with his hard rubber, climbing past Isack Hadjar for sixth on lap eight.

And it was at the end of that tour that those on soft tyres began to bail for the harder compound, most notably Crawford from second in a bid to undercut Aron, as from fifth, Invicta pitted Gabriel Bortoleto on lap 10.

Top two Aron and Colapinto stopped on lap 11 with both drivers enduring slow stops. As the pair returned to the track, Crawford found himself sandwiched between the pair but, with his tyres warm already, he quickly found a way through to gain the net race lead.

As the pitstop shakeup played out, the Virtual Safety Car was briefly deployed to allow for the recovery of Taylor Barnard’s AIX entry which had stopped near to the pit entry.

Having begun to put pressure on Crawford, Aron’s chance of victory disintegrated on lap 15 when a snap of oversteer saw him lose control and slide into the gravel at the final corner.

His return to the track was then quickly under investigation by the stewards after he cut across the front of Zak O’Sullivan but no further action was the quickly given decision.

f2 spain: crawford victorious as correa gets podium retribution

Paul Aron, Hitech Pulse-Eight

Paul Aron, Hitech Pulse-Eight

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Lap 17 then saw disaster for Durksen, who was leading the race on the hard tyre but was yet to stop before he ground to a halt. With a gap of 28 seconds to the lead drivers that had pitted, the AIX driver had looked likely to achieve a top five finish.

Following this latest virtual safety car period, Aron battled his way past O’Sullivan, while Bortoleto made a move on Colapinto for a net second place – both using the tow into Turn 1.

These positions were again reversed a handful of laps later, with Colapinto appearing more willing to push his tyres harder than the Invicta driver at that point.

With 10 laps to go, leader Correra (DAMS) stopped to rid himself of his hard tyres and fit the softs, dropping him to sixth after the remaining drivers pitted.

Aron’s recovery drive continued at this point, as he used DRS to pass Bortoleto for what would be a net third place.

But this position came under threat from an unlikely source as Correa made light work of Hadjar and Bortoleto.

With five laps remaining, Correa made his move on an utterly defenceless Aron into Turn 1 to put himself onto the podium, an outcome that he will view as retribution for Saturday, when his result was taken away through a post-race track limits penalty.

At the start of the final lap, the Invicta pitwall watched on in horror as team-mates Bortoleto and Kush Maini collided at Turn 1, although both were able to reach the chequered flag in sixth and seventh, albeit with damage.

Crawford took the flag by 1.4s from Colapinto, while Correa’s charge ended shortly after his pass on Aron with the tyre compounds levelling on pace.

F2 Spain - race two result

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