Monaco Win the “Minimum” for Iwasa

Monaco Win the “Minimum” for Iwasa

Monaco IwasaMonaco win the “minimum” for Iwasa

Despite winning the Monaco Sprint Race, Ayumu Iwasa said that result was the “minimum” he expected after a difficult Qualifying session at the fifth round of the 2023 FIA Formula 2 Championship.

A collision with the barriers at the Nouvelle Chicane during Qualifying bent the DAMS car’s steering, meaning he could do no better than P9.

The Japanese driver is often quick to point out his own mistakes and very open about where he can improve, and his attitude was no different after winning in Monaco.

Reflecting on his Sprint Race, he said: “It’s quite positive, but unfortunately I missed the result again in Qualifying yesterday, even though I had speed.

“I think this is the minimum recovery as a driver. I’m quite happy about this result and the speed in the race so I think this will be quite positive for tomorrow’s race.”

Iwasa lined up on the front row of the grid just behind pole-sitter Isack Hadjar, who maintained his lead at the race start. A first lap crash for Kush Maini and Clément Novalak brought out the safety car, and at the restart disaster struck for Hadjar.

The Frenchman slowed at the end of the pit straight with a car issue, letting Iwasa get up the inside into Sainte Devote for the race lead, after spotting Hadjar slow twice along the straight.

After the race Iwasa said: “When he slowed down the first time I thought he hit the [rev] limiter or he made some sort of mistake but he slowed again after a few seconds.

“Then I thought that maybe he had a car issue, so I held the right hand line. I wasn’t expecting him to have an issue, and it was quite tight because when he slowed the second time he slowed quite a lot and I had quite good speed [behind him].”

After that incident, the Red Bull Junior driver survived significant pressure from second-placed Jehan Daruvala and quickly pulled out a comfortable gap out front when the Indian driver had car issues in the closing laps.

Despite a strong result in the Sprint Race, Iwasa knew that the majority of points are won in the Feature Race, when he will have to try to make overtakes around the narrow streets of Monte Carlo.

He said: “Tomorrow’s race will be quite difficult because I start P9 and it’s Monaco.

“I think the start will be really important and maybe if I have speed I’ll be able to overtake. I need to think about how to manage the tyres.”

Image: Dutch Photo Agency

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