F2: Iwasa overcomes three-car fight for victory in dramatic Saudi Arabian Sprint Race
Red Bull junior Ayumu Iwasa kept his composure to bring home the victory in an action-packed opening Sprint Race in Jeddah, overcoming two Safety Car restarts and fierce pressure from Victor Martins and Jehan Daruvala all the way to the chequered flag.
Jak Crawford lined up on reverse grid pole, but there was nothing the American could do to hold Iwasa back, as the DAMS driver stormed his way from fourth to the lead by the start of Lap 2. Meanwhile Ferrari junior Oliver Bearman and 2022 Formula 3 champion Martins began swiftly, carving their way through the pack, going from eighth and 10th into the top six.
However, Bearman’s progress ended swiftly after Theo Pourchaire collided with the British driver ahead when attempting to overtake his ART Grand Prix teammate Martins, going too deep at the apex of Turn 1.
Going early on both restarts, Iwasa was unable to pull away from the pack behind and spent the final five laps on the defensive. Refusing to yield, the Japanese driver held off Daruvala and Martins’ attempts, with a mistake from the MP Motorsport car allowing Alpine junior Martins to leapfrog him for second.
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Campos Racing’s consistency continued, as Ralph Boschung secured fourth and assumed the lead of the Drivers’ Championship for the first time in his F2 career, while Kush Maini fought hard for fifth.
Mercedes junior Frederik Vesti slid his way up to sixth, ahead of Jack Doohan and Dennis Hauger, who snatched the final point available in eighth from Crawford on the final lap.
Now Martins will be hoping to go one better, as he lines up on pole for Sunday’s Feature Race when lights go out at 1615 local time.
For an in-depth race report, head to the official Formula 2 website.