Ayumu Iwasa took an impressive victory in the FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit following a tense four-way battle for the win.
Championship protagonist and Sauber junior driver Theo Pourchaire crashed out in dramatic fashion and could be facing a penalty ahead of tomorrow’s feature race following his incident with Oliver Bearman.
Jak Crawford got a clean getaway from pole position while fellow Red Bull Junior Ayumu Iwasa managed to get the jump on Ralph Boschung to claim second on the opening lap.
Crawford drove the first lap with eyes glued on his mirrors with Iwasa looking to pounce at any opportunity. That opportunity came in into Turn 1, with the Japanese driver making the move around the outside cleanly to take the lead.
Behind, Zane Maloney spun on the exit of Turn 2. Maloney was unable to keep the engine running, bringing out the safety car to clear away the stricken Rodin Carlin.
After a brief period behind the safety car, the Sprint Race went green again on Lap 5. Iwasa took the risk of going early at the restart, catching Crawford offguard. Boschung capitalised to take second with yesterday’s pole winner Bearman already up to fifth.
Crawford had clearly been struggling with his tyres and was quickly falling out of touch with the front runners. Jehan Daruvala pounced to take third away from Crawford who looked to be in for a difficult evening.
Drama ensued behind when championship leader Theo Pourchaire eyed up a move on ART teammate Victor Martins. The attempt was entirely misjudged when he shot past Martins, straight into the side of the unaware Bearman ahead. Both drivers were lucky to escape injury, but Pourhciare may not be as lucky with the stewards – the incident will be investigated after the race.
Lap 10 and the safety car had once again retreated to the pitlane, commencing the second half of the race. Iwasa managed to get the jump once more, this time launching his defence before the final corner.
Iwasa was unable to break away from the top four who had managed to build a gap to the rest of the field. Just 1.5 seconds covered Iwasam Boschung, Daruvala and Martins as the DRS battles began.
Boschung, however, had started to slip away as he dropped two places, falling to fourth. Both Daruvala and Martins continued to put Iwasa under pressure. With five laps to go, it was still anyone’s to win as the battle for the lead had closed the pack once more.
Daruvala launched an attack on Iwasa at Turn One, but Martins pounced. The reigning Formula 3 champion, who started the race tenth, had now climbed to second place.
Ultimately, it was Ayumu Iwasa who managed to survive a last-lap attack from Victor Martins to take victory in the FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. Jehan Daruvala completed the podium in third ahead of the Campos pair of Boschung and Kush Maini. Vesti, Doohan and Hauger claimed the final points-paying positions.