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Iwasa says he “didn’t have great speed” in Jeddah races despite win

by Ida Wood

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa claims he “didn’t have great speed” in the Formula 2 races in Jeddah, despite winning the first.

Iwasa qualified sixth, putting him fourth on the reversed grid for Saturday’s sprint race. He moved up to second on lap one, and took the lead before the safety car came out on lap two. Racing resumed on lap five, then there was a three-lap safety car period before a clean second half to the 20-lap race. During that time, Iwasa resisted attacks from three different drivers.

“It was massive pressure, and the situation was really similar to Abu Dhabi last year,” said Iwasa, recalling his previous F2 win.

“I was trying to remember that situation, and I was trying to manage it well. Unfortunately, I didn’t have great speed through the race, so I had to manage the pace for each sector. I think the chicane of sector two and the last corner was quite okay, so that’s why I could defend well. But still, it was on the edge.”

“Even though I had a big pressure during the race, still I was able to control myself. I was just thinking about the situation, where I was fast, where I was slow.”

He reiterated the fact he felt he didn’t have great speed, despite his race pace being the second fastest, and needed “to look at the data” to find out why before the feature race.

A grid penalty for Theo Pourchaire meant Iwasa lined up fifth on the grid for Sunday’s race, and this time he lost a position on lap one. An early pitstop dropped him to 14th, and he then made his way up to fourth to stand as the only driver to have scored in every race this season as well as holding the highest average finishing position.

Average finishing position

1 Iwasa 4.25   2 Boschung 6.5   3 Maini 7   4 Daruvala 7.25   5 Hauger 8.5   6 Doohan 9   =7 Leclerc & Fittipaldi 9.25   9 Pourchaire 10   10 Vesti 11.25

After the feature race, Iwasa said “this weekend was good in terms of the result but unfortunately through the weekend I didn’t have good speed compared to other teams and cars so I am not really happy about that”.

The Honda and Red Bull junior thinks he and DAMS “need to work on everything”, as at the Bahrain season opener he was also “struggling a lot with the speed, and also tyre management”.

He added: “I will try to improve our performance together as a team and I will find some improvement on my side. For sure there is a big possibility to be better even from where we are now.”