F2: Iwasa seals Melbourne Feature Race victory to command championship lead
Ayumu Iwasa put in a measured performance from pole to take his fourth Formula 2 win and assume the lead of the championship for the first time. Theo Pourchaire kept in touch but had to settle for second and Ferrari junior Arthur Leclerc scored his maiden F2 podium from seventh.
Blistering away off the line, Iwasa kept himself ahead as Pourchaire was forced to fend off his ART Grand Prix team mate Victor Martins.
After starting P15, home hero Jack Doohan attempted to get into the points, going deep across the kerb trying to pass Jak Crawford. Left with nowhere to go but the barriers, the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver brought out the Safety Car on Lap 8.
Assuming the lead when Iwasa pitted, Vesti waited until Lap 26 to make his stop behind a second Safety Car after Roy Nissany spun into the barriers ahead of Turn 13. Enzo Fittipaldi also boxed but crashed at the same section moments after coming out of the pits.
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With four laps to go, Martins and Hauger were knocked out of the fight for the final podium spot. Locking up his front tyres on the restart, the Frenchman skated into the rear of the Red Bull junior.
Out front, Iwasa kept comfortably out of Pourchaire’s reach for the win, as Leclerc benefited from the chaos to take third. Vesti made swift work of Zane Maloney for fourth ahead of Daruvala, Verschoor, Doohan, Maini and Stanek, who secured his first F2 points for Trident.
Iwasa now leads the drivers’ championship on 58 points, eight points ahead of Theo Pourchaire, whilst DAMS’ 1-3 finish gives them the lead of the teams’ standings on 91. The Japanese driver will be hoping to add another win to his tally when F2 heads to Baku at the end of the month, April 28-30.