Melbourne Madness Brings Difficult Weekend for Ollie
After a promising start to Round 3 in Friday’s practice session, the weekend unravelled into a series of unfortunate events. From bad weather and safety cars to penalties and lengthy pit stops, it was a rollercoaster of a weekend for Ollie as F2 headed to Melbourne for the first time.
In a damp and dreary qualifying session more Margate than Melbourne, the rain meant few drivers could put in lap times they were happy with. Qualifying was soon brought to a stop mere moments after it started with crashes throughout the field.
Unfortunately, Ollie ploughed into the wall along the back straight, smashing his front wing on the way into Turn 9. However, after 15 minutes of stoppage time, the track was clear, the rain began to subside and Ollie was able to rejoin the session despite continued poor track visibility. Ollie finished the 6th fastest in Friday’s qualifying session.
With stop-start showers and a wet-to-dry track ending several drivers’ races prematurely, the battle to stay on the slippery track was intense. The start of the race was delayed after multiple drivers crashed into the barrier en route to the grid with others stalling and spinning on the way.
As the race got underway, Ollie passed fellow Ferrari Driver Academy member Arthur Leclerc, moving into fourth position. However, Leclerc passed Bearman into Turn 9, with Maloney also passing his former F3 rival in Turn 11.
In a Sprint peppered with safety cars and tyre strategy chaos for many teams thanks to the inclement weather, it was time for the last lap. On the final tour, Ollie passed team mate Vesti in Turn 9 securing a 7th place finish in the Sprint.
After starting sixth on the grid, Ollie quickly moved into fifth place before being given a five second time penalty for forcing another driver off the track. Serving the penalty on his pitstop. A questionable release then resulted in Hadjar making contact with Ollie in a congested pitlane exit, though no further investigation was required by Stewards.
Sustaining a puncture from the impact, Ollie then needed to pit again to replace a shredded rear tire. The lengthy pit stop impacted by a further wheel gun issue pushed Ollie down to 18th place when he re-joined the track on lap 13.
With it all to do, Ollie quickly gained track position, fighting up to 13th place by lap 20 and determined to finish in the points. Unfortunately, Ollie went wide into Turn 10 and into the gravel on lap 22, pushing him back down the ranks.
Crossing the line in 15th place, the streak of bad luck wasn’t over for Ollie who was later given a 10 second penalty after Stewards found he had failed to serve his initial five second penalty properly. Ollie finished the weekend in 17th place.
As one race weekend Ollie will be glad to put behind him, attention now turns to Baku in Azerbaijan. Join us on 28-30 April for Round 4 of the season.