Ayumu Iwasa wins for the first time this season
The Sprint Race of Round 2 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship in Saudi Arabia took place on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Saturday 18 March. The high-speed Jeddah street circuit is distinctive with few run-off areas.
Ayumu Iwasa, a Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) driver qualified 6th on the previous day. After the demotion of a car in a front position, he started from P4 in the 2nd row on the grid in the Sprint Race, where a reverse grid is applied.
With an ambient temperature of 26°C and a track temperature of 35°C, the formation lap got underway at 6:10pm. After a good start, Iwasa had passed one car and moved up to 2nd position by the first corner. Having closed in on the leader, Iwasa overtook a front car from the outside to take the lead.
On Lap 2, there was a crash at the back of the field and the Safety Car was brought on. As the race resumed on Lap 5, the chasing pack put pressure on Iwasa, but the Japanese driver defended his lead on the first corner. A close battle continued after that, with the car behind closing to within a second to Iwasa while the HFDP driver controlled the gap and held on to the lead. On Lap 7, the Safety Car came on again due to another accident in the following pack. The race restarted on Lap 10 and entered the second half with Iwasa maintaining his lead.
As the track is not too hard on the tyres, the car behind pushed hard to attack Iwasa even towards the end of the race, closing in on him by around 0.5 seconds. However, he made no mistakes and maintained a gap with the 2nd car, taking the chequered flag at the top of the 20-lap race for his first win of the season.
Iwasa gained 10 points with his first win in a Sprint Race and his third in F2.