Sprint Race
FIA Formula2 2023
Round 10

Iwasa sets the fastest time on the final lap to finish on the podium in 2nd

hu Hungaroring

The Sprint Race of Round 10 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship took place at the Hungaroring in Hungary.

Iwasa sets the fastest time on the final lap to finish on the podium in 2nd

In the qualifying session on Friday 21 July, Ayumu Iwasa, a Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) driver, had to settle for 6th place due to the track temperatures which were lower than previous years. However, he had achieved the fastest time in the Free Practice and confirmed that the car was in good shape. As such, he showed expectations and confidence ahead of the race, where temperatures were expected to rise. He started from P5 in Row 3 of the Sprint Race, where a reverse grid is applied.

The weather on Saturday, 22nd July was fine, as forecast. Under an ambient temperature of 26°C and with a track temperature of 48°C, the formation lap of the Sprint Race got underway at 2:15pm. After a good start, Iwasa made a good decision to take the inside line towards the first corner and improved his position, passing the first corner in 3rd. Following this, he overtook the car in front between Turns 2 and 3 and climbed up to 2nd place. After finishing the opening lap in 2nd, Iwasa kept the gap to the leader as he continued his laps.

The HFDP driver was running in 2nd, just over a second behind the leader, and while the rest of the field was closing in on him, he managed his tyres and kept his pace and position. With 10 laps to go towards the end of the race, Iwasa increased his pace and chased the leader. As Iwasa pushed on with his best lap time, the leader also increased their pace and the gap between them hardly closed. A fierce battle for position took place behind Iwasa and as a result, the gap between Iwasa and the rest of the field widened considerably.

In the final stage of the race, Iwasa judged that he could not catch the leader and switched to a strategy of controlling his pace and aiming for the fastest lap. He pushed on Lap 26 but was two tenths of a second short. He pushed again on the final lap, and took the fastest lap, completing the race in 2nd. As a result, Iwasa added one fastest lap point to his eight points for 2nd place, closing the gap to the championship leaders.

Ayumu Iwasa
Ayumu Iwasa 11
I'm happy with the results - 2nd place and fastest lap - and it was a positive result for the team. My start wasn't perfect, but the others around me didn't seem to be doing so well. So, I went for the open space and was able to move up the position. On the approach to the second corner, the car in 2nd was right behind the leader. So, I caught them from outside and was able to pass. From then on, I left space between me and the car in front [to avoid getting dirty air] and concentrated on tyre management. However, the leader also controlled their driving and started to slow down. So, I couldn't make space properly, and I think that's why the tyre difference showed towards the end of the race.
I’d decided to follow the engineer's instructions for the timing to push (in the later part of the race).  They told me I could push with about 10 laps to go, but the leader was also managing their race well and I couldn't quite catch them. So, I switched to aiming for fastest time in the last part of the race and let the tyres cool down to get it.
I didn't win, but the car was in very good condition and my tyre management was better than last year. So, we are positive for the Feature Race. As overtaking is difficult on this track, I think the start and strategy will be important.

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