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Campos rookie Olli Caldwell took his first Formula 2 points home from the Red Bull Ring, however, he’s only one point away from a race ban.
The Alpine Academy driver scored his maiden F2 points in the Feature Race in Austria after being promoted to P6. His promotion came after the disqualification of race leader Richard Verschoor and third-placed Jehan Daruvala.
The season so far
The Campos driver hasn’t had the start to the season he would’ve hoped for as he currently sits 19th in the driver standings. Round one in Bahrain proved quite tough as Caldwell did not finish the opening Sprint Race. Sunday’s Feature Race proved better as the young driver maintained P17.
Moving into round two in Jeddah improvements had been made as Caldwell improved to P14 in the Sprint Race after starting P17. He also gained a place in the Feature Race, crossing the line P16.
These improvements continued onto Imola. Caldwell made up an impressive eight places to finish P13, just shy of the points.
Unfortunately, Baku saw Caldwelll’s second DNF of the season. He collided with Amaury Cordeel in the Feature Race, which sadly left him unable to continue.
In the break before Silverstone as part of his Alpine Academy role, Caldwell got his first taste of Formula One by testing the A521. Moving into the British Grand Prix weekend, his string of unfortunate luck continued. Caldwell qualified 16th, but moved backwards to P18 in the Sprint, and P17 in the Feature Race.
Point Scoring Positions
Austria finally saw all the pieces fall into place. Caldwell decided to take a gamble starting on slicks during the Feature Race. He crossed the line to finish P8. However, was later promoted to P6 after Verschoor was disqualified and Daruvala received a twenty-second penalty.
Speaking to Formula 2 about his first point score Caldwell commented “I’m really happy to be finishing in the points after starting P22, we went for a gamble starting on the slicks and it definitely paid off.” He went on to discuss the tyre strategy saying “it was a gamble we had to take as we had nothing to lose.”
Saturday’s Sprint Race however, had served as a warning to Caldwell after receiving his eleventh penalty point for evading track limits. This leaves him only a point off a race ban.
The Campos driver took this through to Sunday saying “The track isn’t kind to track limits. The way it is laid out and the up and down nature of the circuit makes it easy to go off the circuit. I had a few track limit warnings and after that, I found a nice rhythm of maximising the track without going off and still being fast.”
Looking to Le Castellet
Formula 2 returns for round nine at Paul Ricard where Caldwell will be looking for points once again.
The British driver has had quite the success previously at Paul Ricard. Caldwell reflected on his past performances saying “I’ve had some nice success there in the past so would love to go there and get a good result.”
He then went on to address that qualifying is now his main focus saying “I’m definitely focusing on fixing my Qualifying. Today showed that I have the pace to drive inside the top 10, just starting there needs to be the focus.” He concluded by saying “Once you start higher up, getting points is much easier. You get ‘pulled’ along by each other with the slipstream.”
The British driver is currently 19th in the standings, only seven points behind Roberto Merhi. Will he be able to add more points to his name in the South of France?
Head Image Credit: Formula 2