DAMS driver Ayuma Iwasa climbed from fourth on the grid to score his third Formula 2 victory in Saturday’s sprint race in Saudi Arabia.
The Red Bull junior resisted late pressure from ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins, who came from 10th to second, while MP Motorsport’s Jehan Daruvala was third.
Iwasa made up two places at the start to run second behind Hitech GP’s Jak Crawford, who converted pole into the lead. Martins moved up to eighth behind Prema’s Ollie Bearman, who also gained two places at the start, and the pair capitalised on a small mistake from Jack Doohan to gain further ground.
Iwasa snatched the lead from Crawford at the beginning of lap two before the safety car was deployed due to Rodin Carlin’s Zane Maloney spinning to a halt.
The race resumed on lap five, with Ralph Boschung immediately pouncing to take second away from Crawford. Daruvula moved up to fourth ahead of Maini, who also lost further positions to Bearman and Martins.
ART’s Theo Pourchaire then dived up the inside of Maini on the next lap to take seventh. The Frenchman then attempted the same move on team-mate Martins but ended up collecting the hapless Bearman, putting both cars out. Crawford also lost third to Daruvala before the safety car was deployed for the second time.
The green flags were shown on lap nine, with Crawford passed by Martins before losing out in an exciting battle with Maini and slipping to sixth. Daruvala prevailed in a dice with Boschung for second, with Martins continuing his charge to move to third.
A three-way battle for the lead developed, with Daruvala running wide while sandwiched between Iwasa and Martins. Daruvala made a move for the lead into turn one, but ended up losing out to Martins, who quickly moved onto the tail of Iwasa.
Despite a final lap challenge into turn one, Martins had to settle for second, as Iwasa held on to win by 0.7s. Daruvala and Boschung both finished under 2s adrift in third and fourth.
Maini was a further 0.5s adrift in fifth, while Prema’s Frederik Vesti made up late ground to finish sixth. Doohan was seventh ahead of MP’s Dennis Hauger, while Crawford and Charouz’s Roy Nissany rounded out the top 10.
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