Hadjar’s retirement opens door for Iwasa to take sprint race win and points lead

Formula 2

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Ayumu Iwasa kept his cool to win the Formula 2 sprint race in Monaco and take the championship lead after Isack Hadjar retired early from first place.

The Red Bull junior driver inherited the lead after Hadjar suddenly slowed following a Safety Car restart, allowing Iwasa through to the front. The DAMS driver led the rest of the race, easily beating Jehan Daruvala to the chequered flag after another late Safety Car restart.

When the lights went out, pole sitter Hadjar held the lead into Sainte Devote with Iwasa in second, Daruvala in third and Jak Crawford in fourth all holding their positions at the front of the field. But as the drivers exited the tunnel for the first time, Kush Maini was hit by Clement Novalak, sending Maini spinning. That caused a traffic jam in which Ralph Boschung and Roy Nissany stopped on track and stalled, leading both to retire.

The Virtual Safety Car was used at first but was soon upgraded to a full Safety Car. Novalak recovered to the pits for a new front wing and Maini was also able to rejoin the train of cars.

The race resumed at the start of lap six with Hadjar leading the pack away, but the race leader was overtaken by Iwasa into Sainte Devote as his car began to slow, and pulled to the side of the road. Hadjar dropped rapidly down the order as the field swallowed him up.

After initially reporting a puncture, he later said he had an engine problem in his Hitech-run car. Hadjar had no choice but to cruise back to the pits and into retirement. The team later reported his retirement had not been engine-related.

New leader Iwasa quickly pulled out a gap of over a second to Daruvala, but the pursuing MP Motorsport driver managed to prevent Iwasa from escaping any further away. In third, Crawford fell back from Daruvala ahead and came under pressure from Richard Verschoor, who was promoted to fourth from Hadjar’s retirement.

On lap 22, the Safety Car was deployed for a second time when Juan Manuel Correa and Amaury Cordeel made contact into Mirabeau while fighting over 12th place, sending the Virtuosi driver into the barrier. The race resumed with six laps remaining, and Iwasa caught Daruvala napping at the restart, pulling out a lead of over three seconds by the end of the first green flag lap.

Iwasa comfortably completed the remaining laps to take the chequered flag and secure his third race win of the 2023 season and return to the top of the championship standings, a position he last occupied before his point-less round in Baku. Daruvala finished well behind in second, with Crawford a couple more seconds behind in third.

Verschoor had to settle for fourth after being unable to take third from Crawford, while Zane Maloney claimed fifth place. Jack Doohan took sixth place and the fastest lap ahead of the two ARTs of Victor Martins and Theo Pourchaire, who was unable to hold onto the championship lead with a single point in eighth.

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Formula 2 Monaco race one results

111Ayumu IwasaDAMS
22Jehan DaruvalaMP
39Jak CrawfordHitech
422Richard VerschoorVan Amersfoort
53Zane MaloneyRodin Carlin
614Jack DoohanVirtuosi
76Victor MartinsART
85Theo PourchaireART
97Frederik VestiPrema
104Enzo FittipaldiRodin Carlin
1123Juan Manuel CorreaVan Amersfoort
1217Brad BenavidesPHM Racing by Charouz
1320Roman StaněkTrident
1424Kush MainiCampos
1512Arthur LeclercDAMS
161Dennis HaugerMP
1721Clement NovalakTrident
188Ollie BearmanPrema
DNF15Amaury CordeelVirtuosi
DNF10Isack HadjarHitech
DNF16Roy NissanyPHM Racing by Charouz
DNF25Ralph BoschungCampos

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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