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F2 Australia: Iwasa survives chaos for second win of 2023

Red Bull junior Ayumu Iwasa became the first repeat winner of the Formula 2 season as he converted pole position into victory in Sunday’s feature race in Melbourne.

Ayumu Iwasa, DAMS

Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Iwasa came out on top against Theo Pourchaire at the end of a frenetic 33-lap encounter with not only his first feature race of the season but the lead of the championship, the DAMS driver now holding an eight-point advantage over ART Grand Prix’s Pourchaire.

A late collision between Victor Martins and sprint race winner Dennis Hauger meanwhile handed the final spot on the podium to Arthur Leclerc in the second DAMS car.

Iwasa made a strong getaway from pole to hold the lead on the opening lap, as Pourchaire repelled a fleeting challenge from fellow countryman Martins to hold second.

The top runners remained in that order until the safety car was scrambled when Jak Crawford crashed at Turn 11 while battling for position with Jack Doohan.

Martins led a pack of five drivers that pitted to change from soft tyres to mediums just before the safety car was called, with the other runners on the conventional strategy coming in the following lap after the caution period had started.

Isack Hadjar and Oliver Bearman, who had been running fourth and fifth, made contact in a congested pitlane, leaving the latter with a puncture.

At this stage, Frederik Vesti was promoted into the lead, opting to stay out on his prime tyres along with Roy Nissany, Enzo Fittipaldi and Kush Maini, while Doohan opted to ditch his mediums for soft rubber and then came in one lap later to go back to primes. Iwasa initially ran sixth after his stop, but gained a place back after Doohan pitted.

Vesti was able to build a lead out front as Nissany held up the chasing pack, with the Israeli driver holding second until he tried in vain to resist an attack by Fittipaldi through Turns 9 and 10, which allowed Maini to jump both and snatch second.

Iwasa managed to follow Maini through to grab third, and later passed the Indian driver for second, where he would remain until Vesti pitted from the lead on lap 26.

Prema driver Vesti timed his pitstop to coincide with the second and final safety car, triggered by Nissany crashing on the run down to Turn 3, slipping down to seventh in the process.

But the Danish driver gained two places back just prior to the restart as ART driver Martins ran into the back of the MP Motorsport car of Hauger, who had made his way from 10th on the grid into third, at the penultimate corner.

That promoted Leclerc from fifth to third, where he would remain to score his first F2 podium, while Vesti used the advantage of his soft tyres for the restart to pass Zane Maloney’s Rodin Carlin car for fourth place.

Jehan Daruvala (MP) was sixth, followed by Richard Veschoor (VAR), while Hitech driver Hadjar was eighth on the road but handed a 10-second penalty for rejoining the track unsafely after being hit at Turn 13 by Nissany earlier in the race.

That promoted Doohan’s Virtuosi entry to eighth ahead of Maini (Campos) and Roman Stanek (Trident). Hadjar’s penalty dropped him to 17th place behind Martins.

Ralph Boschung, who had led the championship alongside Iwasa heading into the race, was an anonymous 18th ahead of Hauger, while Fittipaldi was classified 20th after spinning on his out lap under caution and then crashing, only just missing the stricken car of Nissany.

F2 Australia - feature race results (33 laps):

Cla # Driver Team Laps Gap
1 11 Japan Ayumu Iwasa
France DAMS 33
2 5 France Theo Pourchaire
France ART Grand Prix 33 0.882
3 12 Monaco Arthur Leclerc
France DAMS 33 1.484
4 7 Denmark Frederik Vesti
Italy Prema Powerteam 33 1.815
5 3 Barbados Zane Maloney
Rodin Carlin 33 5.290
6 2 India Jehan Daruvala
Netherlands MP Motorsport 33 6.779
7 22 Netherlands Richard Verschoor
Netherlands Van Amersfoort Racing 33 7.107
8 14 Australia Jack Doohan
Invicta Virtuosi Racing 33 7.764
9 24 India Kush Maini
Spain Campos Racing 33 8.294
10 20 Czech Republic Roman Staněk
Italy Trident 33 10.892
11 23 United States Juan Manuel Correa
Netherlands Van Amersfoort Racing 33 11.126
12 21 France Clement Novalak
Italy Trident 33 11.593
13 17 United States Brad Benavides
PHM Racing by Charouz 33 13.902
14 15 Belgium Amaury Cordeel
Invicta Virtuosi Racing 33 14.276
15 8 United Kingdom Oliver Bearman
Italy Prema Powerteam 33 16.734
16 6 France Victor Martins
France ART Grand Prix 33 17.299
17 10 France Isack Hadjar
Hitech Pulse-Eight 33 17.437
18 25 Switzerland Ralph Boschung
Spain Campos Racing 33 24.039
19 1 Norway Dennis Hauger
Netherlands MP Motorsport 30 3 Laps
4 Brazil Enzo Fittipaldi
Rodin Carlin 26 7 Laps
16 Israel Roy Nissany
PHM Racing by Charouz 25 8 Laps
9 United States Jak Crawford
Hitech Pulse-Eight 6 27 Laps

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