Jak Crawford secured his maiden Formula 2 pole position on Friday with a well-timed lap at Zandvoort to head the field for the first time. Teammate Isack Hadjar put his Hitech Pulse-Eight #10 in P9 to ensure the team has a great chance for a solid haul of points this weekend.

For Crawford, it was a lap he has been looking forward to all season, with Zandvoort being one of his favourite circuits Team Manager Clive Hatton joked after the session.

He certainly put all of the practice he’d done to good use, maximising his early push lap to take provisional pole and remained unbeaten as Red Flags later in the session prevented anyone from improving further. With that said, Hatton said that the team was looking solid pace-wise from the word go on Dutch soil.

“All the team are absolutely thrilled especially for Jak. We’re delighted for him because he’s worked hard for that. He’s shown good, consistent pace for that all year, always getting in the top 10 and getting up there in reverse grid races and today he’s done the job.

“He’s been going on all year about this track, I think it’s his favourite track, not sure if he’s mentioned that yet. He’s done well here in F4 and F3 here so I’m really happy for him because he’s been looking forward to it all year and he’s worked hard.

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“Especially after not having an ideal weekend at Spa and both cars not finishing in the Feature Race. I know conditions weren’t easy there but it’s nice to come back after the summer break and hit it off the bat strong.”

Pole position is the latest milestone in a solid rookie campaign for the American driver. With four podiums on his record in 2023 including a maiden victory in the Spielberg Sprint Race, Crawford has made marked improvements from the outset back in Sakhir.

READ MORE: QUALIFYING: Crawford makes it count for maiden pole in dramatic Zandvoort session

For Hitech Pulse-Eight, who previously worked with Crawford in F3, the steps he has taken in recent seasons are paying dividends now. It’s clear to see says Hatton, who adds that both drivers’ working relationship has driven the other to do better, even with the odd disagreement.

“They’re two quite good teammates. They’ve had a few occasions when they’ve had a bit of a go at each other they’ve made up for the following weekend and they’re quite close. They’re like two brothers so it’s good.”

“I can definitely see a big, big improvement from when we had Jak in F3. He’s matured a lot. He just gets on and he’s quite level-headed. He’s just kind of kept his head down no matter what happened and just works. Whatever happens one weekend, he puts it behind him and picks himself up for the next one. Let’s just say it’s the jump we’ve been waiting for him to do. Let’s hope it continues.”

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With both drivers in contention in both races, strategy will be crucial in both Hadjar and Crawford’s Sprint and Feature Races. Maximising the chances for the pole sitter is priority one for the team, but aiding the Frenchman in his charge could come from a move on the pitwall.

Zandvoort’s tight pitlane layout means there will be no pitting in the event of a Safety Car, meaning teams will need to get creative should they opt to run the alternative strategy. Of course there’s always the chance of a rain shower to make things even more challenging for teams and drivers.

“For the top driver strategy-wise, you’re going to go with the strategy that you think is best whatever that may be. Maybe you go with the alternative strategy for the car further back. It all depends on what other cars are doing around you. Pitstops aren’t going to be easy with a tight pitlane here. Having both cars on the same strategy you can’t really double stack, but we’ll see.

“I think that they’ll do well. It’s not like they’ve done anything silly when it’s been wet before, so they’re well prepared for it. It’s rained in nearly every round we’ve been to this year considering we’re meant to be following the sun around.

“It’s definitely not going to be easy for Isack, but he’s shown he’s able make up places. Hopefully he has the pace to do that on Sunday, it’ll be interesting to see.”