Ayumu Iwasa stayed out of trouble to win Melbourne’s FIA Formula 2 Feature Race while many drivers struggled with tyre temperature.
Iwasa led the pack away from pole position for the first F2 Sunday in Albert Park, keeping the lead out of Turn 1 ahead of the two battling ARTs.
Théo Pourchaire managed to stay ahead of his team mate, Victor Martins, who started the race from third despite a crash in qualifying.
After a great start, Saturday’s Sprint Race winner, Dennis Hauger, made up three places from his grid position. The Norwegian took the quickest route through the first sector, allowing him to pick up a few places.
Kush Maini was the highest-placed driver on the grid (P8) to choose the alternative strategy, but he lost multiple positions on the opening lap before dropping to 15th after a trip to the gravel later on.
Jack Doohan was another driver on the alternative strategy. F2’s only 2023 Australian was making great progress through the field until an incident with Jak Crawford.
Doohan carried on without damage after hitting the side of the American, but Crawford found the wall at Turn 11 after Doohan’s attempted to overtake.
The stewards decided to take no further action on the incident with Doohan and Crawford.
Oliver Bearman picked up a puncture after an unsafe release from Hitech and Isack Hadjar. It wasn’t all disaster for Bearman, who managed to make it round to the pits to change the tyres under the Safety Car to recover Crawford’s car.
Hadjar dropped towards the back of the field as the leading drivers tried to pass the alternative strategy runners before Roy Nissany ran him wide and onto the grass at Turn 13.
A trip across the gravel for Amaury Cordeel caused a brief yellow flag after he came into the pits on Lap 23 and went straight on at Turn 1 with cold tyres.
The first sector saw plenty of late-race action, with Nissany hitting the wall on the exit of Turn 2 to bring out the Feature Race’s second Safety Car after being involved in a battle with the front runners on fresher tyres.
Like Cordeel, Enzo Fittipaldi spun after exiting the pits, with the Brazillian’s incident coming under Safety Car conditions. Disaster struck when he lightly tapped the Turn 2 wall when rejoining the track, causing the rear suspension to fail just metres later.
Martins locked up at Turn 13 during the Safety Car restart and hit the back of Hauger’s MP Motorsport. Hauger was set to join Iwasa and Pourchaire on the podium after a strong drive from the Norwegian driver.
Instead, Arthur Leclerc took the final place on the podium, earning his first F2 silverware by holding off a charging Frederik Vesti on the soft tyres in the closing stages.
Image Credit: Red Bull Media House