Isack Hadjar rebounded from a tricky opening half of Qualifying to put himself in contention for both race wins this weekend at Zandvoort. The Hitech Grand Prix driver ended the session sixth overall, behind rivals Victor Martins, Jak Crawford and Roman Stanek but ahead of the likes of Oliver Bearman and Arthur Leclerc.
The Frenchman left it late to secure his P6 grid spot, achieving his best effort on the final flying lap of the session.
Reflecting on his session, Hadjar said that he was disappointed with his day’s work but that it gave him plenty of scope to score points, a vital task to keep his Championship hopes going into Monza.
“I’m quite disappointed to be honest. P6 is not where you want to be when you’re fighting for the Championship,” he explained. “I was lucky to make it through. If the red flag was 10 seconds earlier, I would’ve been P20. No regrets, I think it went well on that last lap.”
“We have two good starting positions in both races. Tomorrow will be challenging starting from seventh. We’ll see how the tyre deg is, maybe it will be more of a test for Sunday’s race. Starting from sixth, I think we can hope for top four at least if we have a good start. Overall, the target will be to score as many points as possible to be in the fight come Monza.”
Traffic around the narrow Zandvoort circuit meant that track position was at a premium for the drivers. Plenty had to abandon earlier attempts due to traffic ahead of them on the road, meaning that a clean lap was vital.
Title rivals Bearman and Leclerc didn’t manage to get their final laps in ahead of the red flag at the end of the session, leaving them in 14th and 20th places on the grid respectively for the Sprint and Feature Races.
It’s a positive for Hadjar, who will be starting furthest forward of all drivers in the top five of the Drivers’ Championship tomorrow for the Sprint Race.
“Regarding our pace, I think it’s a good result. I maximised the lap at the end, looking at Bearman and Leclerc’s position, it’s quite good for the Championship but we’re behind Jak (Crawford), Victor (Martins) and Zane (Maloney).
“It’s fine for me for the Championship that some are behind but I want to win it, so if there’s a title contender in front of me then it’s not good. We’ll keep pushing and tomorrow I’m starting in front of them, the goal is to stay in front and pick up some good points for Sunday.”
Hadjar heads into the Zandvoort Sprint race with a one point lead over Bearman, two points ahead of Martins, five clear of Leclerc and 10 ahead of Roman Stanek.