Ayumu Iwasa won the Formula 2 sprint race at Monaco with a gap of more than six seconds to the rest of the field.
The DAMS driver was under pressure from Jehan Daruvala for much of the race, but a late safety car gave him the opportunity to break away from the rest of the field.
Iwasa’s third win of the season allows him to jump into the championship lead as Frederick Vesti and Theo Pourchaire struggled to make progress on the narrow circuit.
Isack Hadjar got a good start from pole position, managing to keep Iwasa behind him off the line. Before the pair could battle for the lead, the safety car was brought out for an incident between Kush Maini and Clement Novalak.
Maini was following close behind Amaury Cordeel when he slowed through the chicane. Novalak didn’t slow in time and ran into the back of Maini’s car. Arthur Leclerc, Dennis Hauger, Roy Nissany and Ralph Boschung were also caught up in the incident, with the final two retiring on the spot.
The other drivers came into the pits to deal with damage. Novalak received a 10 second penalty for causing the incident, and another five second penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
Just as the track turned green on lap six, Hadjar dropped from the lead of the race. The Hitech driver had an engine problem and cruised around the track and into the pits.
Iwasa inherited the lead and would not surrender it through the remainder of the race.
A good restart had allowed him to pull out a gap of over 1.5s to Daruvala in third. Through the middle portion of the race, Daruvala closed the gap to under a second, only for Iwasa to pull out again as Daruvala managed his tyres.
Daruvala was beginning to attack again when the safety car was brought out for a second time.
Further back, Cordeel had spent the race with a train of drivers behind him in the battle for 10th. Enzo Fitipaldi had just managed to make a move past Cordeel when Cordeel then made contact with Juan Manuel Correa at Mirabeau. Cordeel ended up in the barriers and out of the race.
Iwasa managed to get the jump on the rest of the field at the restart, pulling away from Daruvala as Daruvala came under pressure from Jack Crawford and Richard Verschoor.
Daruvala managed to hang onto second, ahead of Crawford who finished just 0.4s ahead of Verschoor.
Pourchaire and Vesti struggled to move forwards as the reverse grid put the championship contenders in the midfield. They spent much of the race battling between one another, with Pourchaire occasionally getting close enough to put pressure on Victor Martins ahead. Neither would make up a position, other than the one gained from Hadjar’s engine problems, and finished eighth and ninth respectively. The result ended Vesti’s points-scoring streak.
The duo weren’t the only ones to struggle to overtake on the notoriously difficult circuit. Other than problems for Ollie Bearman, there was little movement elsewhere. Zane Maloney held onto fifth ahead of Jack Doohan and Victor Martins. Fittipaldi was the only driver in the top 10 to make an overtake on track after the first safety car, though finishing 10th wouldn’t earn the Rodin Carlin driver any points.
Race result (30 laps)
|2||Jehan Daruvala||MP Motorsport||+6.678s|
|3||Jak Crawford||Hitech GP||+8.335s|
|4||Richard Verschoor||Van Amersfoort Racing||+8.820s|
|6||Jack Doohan||Virtuosi Racing||+14.635s|
|7||Victor Martins||ART Grand Prix||+15.389s|
|8||Theo Pourchaire||ART Grand Prix||+17.369s|
|11||Juan Manuel Correa||Van Amersfoort Racing||+19.303s|
|12||Brad Benavides||PHM by Charouz||+20.541s|
|14||Kush Maini||Campos Racing||+22.395s|
|16||Dennis Hauger||MP Motorsport||+25.049s|
|Ret||Amaury Cordeel||Virtuosi Racing|
|Ret||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP|
|Ret||Roy Nissany||PHM by Charouz|
|Ret||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing|
|Fastest lap: Doohan, 1m22.819s