Thoughts from Novalak, Maloney and Crawford
FIA Formula 2: A very warm welcome to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here at Zandvoort. In third place, Jak Crawford for Hitech Pulse-Eight. In second place, Zane Maloney for Rodin Carlin and taking his first victory in FIA Formula 2, our winner Clément Novalak. Clém, a huge result for you, just how sweet is this moment for you?
Clément Novalak: Obviously, very sweet. We've struggled this year and to be honest myself, I've not really adapted well to Formula 2, especially coming in from Formula 3 where we had really strong results a couple of years ago. It's a very good feeling. It's been a long time and chuffed to bits to come away with the win.
FIA Formula 2: Well, tell us a little bit about the race, it was a crazy one. When did the opportunities and how did the opportunities present themselves?
Novalak: To be honest, I didn't really have much overtaking to do, I'm not going to lie to you. I think at the first restart, obviously a few guys went off and we managed to pick up a couple of positions that way. Then, I don't really know why the Safety Car was triggered to be honest because the incident wasn't anywhere around me. We made use of the fact that we managed to box right before it came out and sort of boxed under Safety Car, you could say and manage to obviously come out in front. I'm not going to lie; I didn't even know I was in the lead until the Safety Car was right in front of me and I realised there’s no cars between us.
FIA Formula 2: Well, tell us about that final stint after we went green for that last bit of the race.
Novalak: In the first three laps I thought it was going to be a really long race because I could see that Zane was keeping up quite close and then slowly, we managed to pull a gap, which was comforting to say the least. Then obviously made a couple of mistakes, he sort of came back, but managed to make the gap again. From then on, the last couple laps controlled it, but it was nevertheless, it's a physical track, so it wasn't an easy race, it was a hard race.
FIA Formula 2: At one point you came on the radio and said there might have been an issue with your brakes, is that the case?
Novalak: Actually, behind the Safety Car, I don’t know why the pedal kept going extremely long. I don't know if it was because I did too much power braking to warm the tyres or whatever, but it would go really to the floor and I was like oh really. Like I mean it's my one time, I'm behind the Safety Car, I'm leading a race and now the brakes decide to go. No, it was only a little issue that lasted half a lap, so it was fine.
FIA Formula 2: And Clém, this is just your second points finish of the year. Just tell us, how do you think this will change things for you?
Novalak: I mean obviously it's great to get such a good result going into Monza. It's a challenging racetrack but Trident were quick there last year, so hopefully we can carry the momentum forward. I don't know if we'll be able to replicate exactly this result but hope for the best and give it our best.
FIA Formula 2: Alright, many congratulations to you Clém, well done. Zane, if we could come to you now. Great race by you, but I'm going to put it to you, given your pace directly after that final restart, did you think the win was on at that point?
Zane Maloney: Yeah, for sure at that point. The beginning of the race we were very fast and then, also right after the Safety Car. Like Clém said, I could keep up quite easily, but I knew that was my only opportunity the first two or three laps. As soon as I followed him for longer than that, my tyres were screaming, so then I dropped back a little bit. I expected Clém to kind of drop at the end with how hard he was pushing, but he did a great job of just maintaining that gap and he was very fast, so not much we could have done after that.
FIA Formula 2: Just tell us a little bit more about that move on Jak at Turn 1 just on that restart.
Maloney: Well, all three of us were really close going into Turn 1 and Jak went for a move on Clém, but I know it's really difficult to brake on the inside here with the bumps. So, I just tried to go on the outside and once I realised that the move was on, I committed to it. It was kind of just go on the outside and see what plays out, but I was ready to back out if I needed to, but he left me good room and I was able to get the move and finish second.
FIA Formula 2: Can we go back to earlier in the race now because you were the first of the front runners to pit. It was a very aggressive strategy. What was the thinking behind that?
Maloney: Well, you're not allowed to pit under the Safety Car here, so our understanding was get in as early as possible and hope that on that outlap there's a Safety Car and then we win the race. But we did it and of course, it still worked out well, we still were able to jump Dennis. It was very sketchy on the outlap, almost put it in the wall a few times like some did, so that was very difficult. Once the tyres came up to temperature, it was just about trying to maybe jump Jak and stay ahead of the others, get past all the guys coming out of the pits. Yeah, it was just a crazy race to be honest.
FIA Formula 2: Very well done to you, thank you Zane. Jak, coming to you. You start on pole, your first pole in FIA Formula 2, you finished third. Just how do you sum that up? How are you feeling now?
Jak Crawford: It’s a bit of a bittersweet one to be honest. I feel like we did everything right on the first stint. We had amazing pace, we nailed the warm-up, the start, everything. I was maintaining the gap, had a solid outlap and was being aggressive. We had the same strategy as Zane, which was to cover off the Safety Car and that eventually is what hurt us. But fair play to Clém and the guys, it's part of racing, it could go my way sometimes as well. That mistake battling on the restart which let Zane get by sort of puts the nail in the coffin.
FIA Formula 2: Just tell us a little bit more about the strategy, you pitted the lap after Zane. Do you think then if you'd stayed out quite a lot longer, you would have come out ahead?
Crawford: Yeah. Honestly, I was thinking about boxing on that lap as well, but I knew I had one more lap of maximum pushing. We were willing to make that risk of going one extra lap for the Safety Car and in the end, we could have gone longer and gone for a bigger overcut, but we really needed to cover off the Safety Car.
FIA Formula 2: Jak, what positives do you take from this weekend? You had good pace in Qualifying, you're on the podium today, how do you think it's going to play out in Monza next weekend?
Crawford: It was an amazing weekend pace-wise and obviously good points in the Feature Race. I definitely think we had amazing pace this weekend, on pole and strong Feature Race pace as well. Going into Monza, it's crazy we only have two more rounds left. It's a completely different track but hopefully, we can take the momentum with us.
FIA Formula 2: All right Jak, very well done to you.