Maloney fifth in rainy Australia

Barbadian racer Zane Maloney finished a commendable fifth in Friday night’s sprint race despite unpredictable showers all weekend so far at the Albert Park Circuit during the 2023 FIA Formula 2 season’s third round of action in Melbourne, Australia.

The teenager was fifth fastest at the track in qualifying on Thursday which led to a favourable sixth placed start on the grid for Friday’s sprint.

Maloney opted for medium tyres at the start of the race unlike most of his fellow drivers and it proved to be a masterstroke as he pulled off two great overtakes before the heavens opened and showers descended during laps 14 to 16.

During lap four, Maloney pulled off a daring move in turn 11 to overtake Oliver Bearman as he set his sights on moving further up the grid. By the 13th lap, he had slipped back to sixth place but pulled off a sensational move to overtake Victor Martins on the outside and climb up to fifth. With the rain making visibility difficult, as it did during the qualifying session, the drivers ahead of him made sure to consolidate their positions to prevent any overtaking mishaps on the treacherous track.

Norwegian driver Dennis Hauger of MP Motorsport won his first sprint race of the season and he was followed by American racer Jak Crawford in second, Campos Racing’s Kush Maini in third and Arthur Leclerc in fourth place. Maloney’s teammate Enzo Fittipaldi went off the track at turn 8 after a pre-race downpour during the formation lap and could not continue.

The finish won Maloney four points and he improved his overall tally to 19 points in ninth place. Leading the driver’s championship is Swiss driver Ralph Boshchung who is tied on 33 points with Japanese driver Ayumu Iwasa. Current F2 vice champion Théo Pourchaire is third with 32 points.  (NM)

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