Despite setting the fastest lap, Ayumu Iwasa admitted that concerns over tyre degradation held him back from pursuing Dennis Hauger for victory in the Sprint Race at Round 10 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at the Hungaroring.
Iwasa started the 28-lap race fifth but leapt up to second by the end of the opening sector after passing pole sitter Kush Maini around the outside of the Turn 2.
By that point, Dennis Hauger, who had started second, was several car lengths ahead of Iwasa, and the Norwegian driver never relinquished the lead.
By the time DRS was activated on Lap 3, Iwasa was 1.5 seconds behind Hauger but at the head of a train of cars, each within one second of the car in front, that at one point encompassed nearly the entire field.
That gap between the front two cars remained between one and two seconds until Lap 12, when the virtual safety car was deployed. When it was rescinded at the end of the lap, the gap between them had grown to 2.2 seconds.
The gap shrunk back to one second with six laps to go before Iwasa dropped back in the final laps. Though the DAMS driver set the fastest lap of the race, a 1:32.585, on the final lap, he ended up 4.230 seconds behind Hauger.
Iwasa told InsideF2 that he did not push to take victory after experiencing tyre wear as he got closer to the MP Motorsport driver.
“It was quite a difficult situation because I was trying to get a bit of a gap to manage the tyre, but I think once, when I was a bit close to Dennis, I was feeling the tyre was losing the tyre potential a bit,” he said.
“It was better to manage the fastest lap time a bit more than pushing hard to [catch] Dennis.”
Red Bull junior Iwasa, who starts tomorrow’s race sixth, sits third in the championship on 120 points.