Iwasa hangs on for sprint race win after Pourchaire crashes into Bearman

Formula 2

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Ayumu Iwasa won a closely-fought Formula 2 sprint race in Saudi Arabia which included two Safety Car periods.

The Red Bull junior took the lead on lap two, after starting fourth, and never lost position despite fierce pressure from behind.

Victor Martins, who is on pole for tomorrow’s feature race, climbed from 10th place to finish second, passing Jehan Daruvala on the way.

Jak Crawford lined up in pole position on the partially-reversed grid with Bahrain sprint race winner Ralph Boschung completing the front row. His Campos team mate Kush Maini completed the top three, while Iwasa joined him on the second row.

Crawford made an excellent start, but an even better one from Iwasa put him up to second by turn two. The DAMS driver had strong pace and was soon on Crawford’s tail. After going around the outside heading into turn one, Iwasa took the lead.

But moments later Zane Maloney spun out of the race at turn two, coming to a stop and triggering a Safety Car period. Iwasa managed the lap five restart perfectly, but there were changes behind him.

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With a risky move down the inside of turn two, Boschung claimed second place from Crawford. The next lap the Hitech driver lost another position at the chicane, this to Daruvala.

Crawford’s lead was short-lived
Seconds later on lap seven, the Safety Car was called for again. Theo Pourchaire, who had already completed one daring, late-braking pass at turn one, over-played his hand when he lunched down the inside of his team mate Victor Martins.

Misjudging his braking point completely, Pourchaire clattered into the Prema of Oliver Bearman, putting both out of the race. After emerging from his damaged ART machine, Pourchaire approached his rival making apologetic gestures, though both Bearman and Doohan had already given withering assessments of his driving on their radios.

The lap 10 restart was once again controlled well by Iwasa. But next time around a three-lap battle broke out for second place between Boschung and Daruvala. First Daruvala overtook his rival down the inside of turn 27, before Boschung regained second the next lap at the opening corner.

Next time around the pair ran wheel-to-wheel down the pit straight, and the battle concluded as Daruvala took second down the inside of turn two after starting his move around the outside of the opening corner.

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However Boschung dropped further back as he lost the final podium position to Martins on lap 14. The opening chicane continued to be a prime position to overtake, Martins completing his move down the inside of turn one.

With strong pace at this point, Martins closed the gap to the drivers in front and by lap 15 the top three were separated by just two tenths of a second. Martins decided to sit patiently in third as he looked on at Daruvala constantly trying to overtake Iwasa for first.

Looking for his opportunity, Daruvala attempted the overtake at the opening chicane but the move caused him to make a poor exit. Martins pounced, sweeping through to take second.

However the ART driver didn’t quite have the pace to put a move on Iwasa. The DAMS driver crossed the line to take his first victory since the final round of last season.

Martins and Daruvala joined the Red Bull junior on the podium, with Boschung crossing the line in fourth ahead of Maini, Vesti, Doohan and Dennis Hauger. Pole-winner Crawford slumped to ninth at the flag ahead of Roy Nissany.

Boschung now takes the championship lead with 33 points, just one ahead of Pourchaire with Iwasa in third on 19 points.

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Formula 2 Saudi Arabia race one results

Position Car Driver Team
1 11 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS
2 6 Victor Martins ART
3 2 Jehan Daruvala MP
4 25 Ralph Boschung Campos
5 24 Kush Maini Campos
6 7 Frederik Vesti Prema
7 14 Jack Doohan Virtuosi
8 1 Dennis Hauger MP
9 9 Jak Crawford Hitech
10 16 Roy Nissany PHM Racing by Charouz
11 12 Arthur Leclerc DAMS
12 10 Isack Hadjar Hitech
13 4 Enzo Fittipaldi Rodin Carlin
14 23 Juan Manuel Correa Van Amersfoort
15 21 Clement Novalak Trident
16 22 Richard Verschoor Van Amersfoort
17 20 Roman Staněk Trident
18 17 Brad Benavides PHM Racing by Charouz
19 15 Amaury Cordeel Virtuosi
DNF 8 Ollie Bearman Prema
DNF 5 Theo Pourchaire ART
DNF Zane Maloney Rodin Carlin

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Ed Hardy
In 2019, Ed started working on Formula 1 writing articles during race weekends. Alongside that, he also built up experience in football working on...

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1 comments on “Iwasa hangs on for sprint race win after Pourchaire crashes into Bearman”

  1. RandomMallard
    18th March 2023, 16:50

    That was an excellent race, very enjoyable to watch. Just wish the F1 would be this close!

    Some excellent driving by everyone at the front, knowing where to attack, where to defend, and where to back out. On the other hand, quite a disappointing and out-of-character mistake from Pourchaire, and it’s these kinds of scenarios that will make the difference if he’s going to mount a title charge this year.

    However, I was very, very impressed by Martins. Great moves through the field, patient but aggressive when he needed to be, and there to pick up any leftovers from other people’s moves. Very strong drive, and he could be establishing himself for a title battle of his own if he keeps this up. Given their team history though, it could be interesting to see how ART cope with the possibility of having 2 drivers in the championship hunt.

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