Feature Race
FIA Formula2 2022
Round 12

Starting from 5th, Ayumu Iwasa finishes on the podium in 3rd after a stormy race with a red flag and three SC interventions

nl Zandvoort Circuit

The Feature Race of the FIA Formula 2 Round 12 Netherlands took place on Sunday, 4 September. Ayumu Iwasa, who had qualified 5th, started from P5 in Row 3 of the grid.

Starting from 5th, Ayumu Iwasa finishes on the podium in 3rd after a stormy race with a red flag and three SC interventions

Under dry conditions with an ambient temperature of 21.4°C and a track temperature of 21.7°C, the formation lap got underway at 10:20am. Iwasa let a trailing car which had made a good start get ahead of him, but the car in front went off the track at the first corner, which enabled him to keep 5th position. The car which went off returned to the track, and then went off again hitting the barriers, and bringing on the Safety Car. After two laps with the Safety Car leading the pack, as the race was red-flagged due to the time needed to repair the barriers, all cars returned to the pits after four laps.

The race was suspended for around 20 minutes to replace the damaged barriers and resumed on Lap 5 with a rolling start after the Safety Car led the way. After 10 laps, cars that had started on soft tyres began to make pit stops, and Iwasa also pitted on Lap 13 to change to hard tyres. Returning to the race in 12th, Iwasa had a fierce battle with cars using the same strategy and moved up a position to 4th among them. Then as one car ahead made a pit stop, Iwasa climbed to 10th.

On Lap 18, when he was running 10th, the Safety Car came on again as a car went off the track and stopped. After four laps of the SC leading the pack, the race resumed on Lap 22, but acceleration of the leading car was slow. This caused confusion among the following cars, which led to an accident. Several cars around Iwasa crashed and the Safety Car was brought on for the third time while Iwasa avoided this accident to move up to 9th.  When the race resumed on Lap 26, cars that had not yet changed tyres began to make pit stops, and by the time all cars had pitted, on Lap 29 Iwasa was in 3rd.

Iwasa reduced the gap to 2nd place to less than a second. However, he drove lap after lap without being able to pass the car in front on a track where overtaking is difficult. The Japanese driver put up a valiant fight until the end, aiming to improve his position, but the race ended after 38 laps as the one-hour time limit had been reached. Iwasa eventually finished 3rd and took his fifth podium finish of the season. Adding 15 points to his tally in this race, with a total of 114 points now, Iwasa moves up to 6th in the championship.

Ayumu Iwasa
Ayumu Iwasa 17
Overall, I was able to put things together and I think it was a good race. I had a good start, a good pit stop, and a good pace in the race. Compared to the Sprint Race, it wasn’t as good when I was following another car, but that was more of an issue with warm-up of the tyres before the start and during SC interventions, rather than the setup of the car. I think that is one area for improvement.
As for the accident on the restart, I knew there was some risk in that situation, so I kept my distance. Even then, it was just barely enough.
Towards the end of the race, I tried various ways to increase my pace and pass the car in front. My pace was better, but it was difficult to overtake. After the Sprint Race, everyone had increased the potential of their cars to suit the track, so the speed difference wasn’t as great as when I overtook a car in the Sprint Race.
I’ll try not to think too much about the championship standings, I just want to concentrate on the race in front of me. First, I’ll prepare with the team for the next race at Monza. 

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