Pepe Martí secures points at an unlucky weekend in Jeddah

The Spaniard finished seventh in the sprint race on Friday, despite a problem with the DRS, and had to retire on Saturday. Frenchman Hadjar was forced to retire in both races, while fighting for the podium, due to the same technical issue that put his car in safe mode

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The second weekend of the 2024 FIA Formula 2 season was tremendously cruel to the interests of Campos Racing and its drivers Isack Hadjar and Pepe Martí. The two drivers, who compete defending the colors of Red Bull, showed much greater potential than they could translate into results. Luck was especially elusive for Hadjar as the French driver was in contention for the podium in both races and in both he had to retire because his car went into safe mode. Meanwhile, Martí once again demonstrated his pace and speed, which earned him valuable points on Friday.

In the free practice session on Thursday, Martí made his first laps at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit with a best time of 1m44.892s. A good start on a track always difficult for any rookie driver. In Hadjar's case, the Frenchman already experienced problems and could barely complete six laps of the Arabian circuit. Later in the evening qualifying, the Campos Racing drivers performed well, and as the times dropped, they were always in the mix. Ultimately, Hadjar stopped the clock at a time of 1m42.513s, which earned him eighth place on the grid. In Martí's case, on his last attempt at a flying lap, he was poised to be among the top three, but accidentally touching the speed limiter in a corner cost him a few tenths and he had to settle for eleventh place with a time of 1m42.668s. As a fact of the closely-fought battle, the first 18 drivers were classified within the same second on the circuit, which is the second longest on the calendar.

On Friday, in the 20-lap sprint race, Hadjar held onto third place at the start while Martí passed four cars around the outside of the first corner and moved up to sixth. An accident on the first lap brought out the safety car and the race wasn't back to green flag until the fourth lap. Martí's problems started early with the activation of the DRS system, which refused to work on his car, and which on a circuit like Jeddah is essential for both overtaking and defending against rivals behind. For this reason, the Spanish driver lost two places before the safety car came out for a second time. Unfortunately, Hadjar had to retire on the penultimate lap while running in the top-5 due to the aforementioned problem. Martí, in the end, managed to salvage seventh place by pressuring Kush Maini until the end and forcing him to make a mistake that allowed Campos Racing's driver to pass him at the very last corner.

In Saturday's feature race, scheduled for 28 laps, both Campos Racing drivers started on the super soft compound. Unfortunately, Martí's race ended just after the first corners as he spun after the first chicane and was hit by a rival. Hadjar, who had moved up to seventh, passed Dennis Hauger after the safety car period in a skillful maneuver around the outside at turn 1. His next target was his countryman Victor Martins, whom he also passed to move up to fifth before making his mandatory pit stop on lap eight. With the medium compound tires, Hadjar also passed Andrea Kimi Antonelli and was provisionally running in fourth before all drivers made their pit stops. However, after a safety car period, on the restart, Hadjar's car slowed down again, forcing him to head to the pits and retire.

After this challenging weekend, Campos Racing will continue working hard ahead of the third round of the season, which will take place in Melbourne on March 23-24.