Fifth and third in the standings Jack Doohan and Ayumu Iwasa will start both Formula 2 races at Spa-Francorchamps from 11th and 16th places on the grid as the rain hurt their hopes in qualifying.
Qualifying was red-flagged soon after it started to recover the car of PHM Racing by Charouz’s Josh Mason. The session resumed, but the rain began to fall before all drivers had completed a timed lap, which benefitted those teams whose position in the pit-lane is closer to its exit.
Both Doohan and Iwasa, whose teams are ninth and 10th in the order in the Formula 1 pit-lane, spoke to Formula Scout in the paddock about what that had meant.
“A bit devastated, but unfortunately it is what it is,” the Alpine junior said. “If it was wet or dry, I was confident that we would have been able to put it on pole. But unfortunately, it was a little bit dictated by just being at the back of the pit-lane today.
“I already had rain coming from the middle of sector two. So I wasn’t going to be able to fight for pole just given from where we were in pit lane, but at least P6, P7 was on the cards before I was impeded into the last chicane by Juan [Manuel Correa].
“[It was] disappointing and outside of my control, so we just need to try and maximise now the rest of the weekend and the mixed conditions tomorrow. There’s opportunity and then we know we can overtake on the dry as well. So if it is dry on Sunday, I’m sure there’s something we can do with the strategy.”
Doohan is hopeful he can “get into the points” in Saturday’s sprint race and believes that “with a bit of luck with the strategy, I think we could still win, to be honest. But to be on the podium would be good.”
Iwasa gave similar reasons for his qualifying result, but was less optimistic about his chances of fighting back in the races.
“Honestly, the quali was really big unluck because our pit-lane was really far from the pit-exit,” the Red Bull junior said. “So we were not able to be the first car on the track when the track goes green. And then at the end, in one lap, in push lap, we got big rain at the end of sector two. The condition was completely different to the people in front of me. So for sure, we cannot go faster than them.
“I’m not expecting too much from the overtaking because even if it is Spa, it’s not so easy to overtake because, anyway, it will be in a DRS train. So if the car has DRS in front of me, it will be so difficult to overtake.
“It should be very difficult. But feature race, maybe we can see some improvements from tomorrow’s sprint race. So we will try our best together.”
With an opposite feeling was Prema’s Frederik Vesti, who qualified in second place after being the first driver out on track.
“So T1 started with a big lock-up, and T9 I think I lost, I don’t know how much time. Quite a lot,” the championship leader explained on why he lost pole-position to team-mate Ollie Bearman.
“I think all drivers will say the same, because we had no reference at all. So it was just to go there, and try to predict and feel what the car is capable of doing. Either you go all-out and risk everything, or you take a bit more margin and finish the lap. It’s a tricky compromise to do as a driver, but we were definitely lucky to be at the start of the pitlane because the rain was coming just by the end of the lap.”