In the Sprint Race on the high-speed street circuit, Ayumu Iwasa starts from 4th in the 2nd row and finishes in a point-gaining 6th place
The Sprint Race of Round 2 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship in Saudi Arabia took place on the Jeddah street circuit on Saturday 26 March. Using public roads in the city, the circuit is distinctive with high speeds and few run-off areas.
Ayumu Iwasa, a Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) driver, qualified 7th on the previous day in his first race on a street circuit and started from 4th on the grid in the Sprint Race, where a reverse grid is applied.
Under dry conditions with an ambient temperature of 24°C and a track temperature of 35°C, the formation lap got underway at 3:30pm. After a good start, Iwasa had passed a car and moved up to 3rd by the first corner. However, he was then overtaken by the car behind with superior pace, and he finished the first lap in 4th position.
On the first lap, a crash at the back of the field brought on the Safety Car (SC), which led the race for five laps to clear the track, before the race resumed. Iwasa was passed by one car on the first corner immediately after the restart and dropped to 5th. In the meantime, on restart, multiple crashes occurred at the back of the pack and the SC was introduced again. While the SC was leading, the first-positioned car entered the pit road and dropped back, leaving Iwasa in 4th place. After seven laps with the SC intervention, the race resumed on Lap 14.
On Lap 15, Iwasa struggled to improve his pace as the tailing two cars breathed down his neck. He was then passed by the two cars, dropping to 6th place. The Japanese driver desperately defended his position from the chasing pack, but his pace failed to improve and on Lap 18 he was overtaken by two cars to drop to 8th place. Shortly afterwards, one of the cars that had overtaken Iwasa spun and he regained 7th position. On the final lap, Iwasa was able to defend his position from the cars closing in on from behind, and finished 7th in a generally difficult race. After the race, a car at a higher position was penalised and Iwasa was moved up to a 6th place finish to earn him 3 points.