Feature Race
FIA Formula2 2022
Round 14

Ayumu Iwasa finishes on a high with a pole-to-win in the final round

ae Yas Marina Circuit

The final race of the season - the Feature Race of the FIA Formula 2 Round 14 Abu Dhabi took place on Sunday 20, November, with Ayumu Iwasa starting from pole position and aiming for a win.

Ayumu Iwasa finishes on a high with a pole-to-win in the final round

With an ambient temperature of 30°C and a track temperature of 41°C, the formation lap got underway at 1:00pm. Iwasa started from pole position but was passed by the 2nd car before the first corner as he was unable to accelerate much. However, he regained the lead in a battle for position towards Turn 2 and completed the first lap on top. The pack in tow then closed in on him within a second, but Iwasa held on to the lead. On Lap 7, Felipe Drugovich, this season's champion, moved to 2nd and was breathing down Iwasa’s neck.

On Lap 9, Iwasa, who had started on soft tyres, made a pit stop for a tyre change. As Drugovich pitted on the next lap and got back on the track behind him, Iwasa defended his lead among cars with the same strategy.

In 2nd place, Drugovich kept the pressure on Iwasa, always with a gap of around a second behind. In the second half of the race, as cars with a different strategy started going back to the pit, Iwasa’s position gradually moved up, but the situation remained tense with pressure from behind.

On Lap 26, when all the cars had completed their pit stops, Iwasa came out on top. The gap to Drugovich in 2nd was just one second. Iwasa had to defend his position from the fierce Brazilian at the end of the straight on every lap and as the race entered the final stages. Iwasa held off his rival in a furious side-by-side battle on Lap 31 and at Turns 8 to 9 on the final lap to eventually take the chequered flag.

With his second win this season, Iwasa has added two points for his pole position and 25 points for this win to his tally. With a total of 141 points now, he finishes the 2022 season and moves to 5th place in the standings.

Ayumu Iwasa
Ayumu Iwasa 17
In the end, I think it's a big point that I won in the last round, and I'm glad. Overall, my pace was not great, although the poor balance in the Sprint Race improved. The last minute clutch adjustment wasn’t so good and I was a little slow at the start. But when it came side-by-side I delayed braking to defend the lead. I was under pressure all the time from Drugovich and I think he had more potential in the second half of the race. I knew I was faster in Sector 1, so I was trying to widen the gap there and not get passed on the straight. Even so, he attacked me gradually closing the gap towards the end. But I managed to defend the top position. To be honest, I thought it was going to be difficult as he came at me quite early on, but I kept pushing, telling myself 'I just have to do it'. I knew there was no problem with wear on the medium tyres, but temperature control was important and I had to be careful with that. Nevertheless, I still felt a little slippery in the second half and I think Drugovich’s pace was better.
This season has been a year of learning and gaining experiences, with lots of ups and downs. In the first half, it was often difficult to get results. From there, the whole team continued to reflect and improve, and I’m very happy that we grew and became stronger together. In that respect, winning the last race means a lot and I thank the team for that.
I didn't reach my goal of finishing in the top four (which would have allowed him to get the Super Licence), but 5th in the ranking in my rookie year is a good achievement considering my initial situation. And I should be happy with the result, because it's as a result of becoming strong together with the team. Of course, there’s still plenty of room to get faster and stronger, so I’ll continue with the 'do all I can' attitude I’ve learnt this year. 

Published on