Ayumu Iwasa triumphed from pole in the Formula 2 feature race as chaos ensued behind at Albert Park.
The DAMS’ driver led away at the start as ART GP’s Theo Pourchaire resisted a challenge from ART GP’s Victor Martins into Turn 1 to retain second. Saturday’s sprint race podium finisher Kush Maini had two early off-track excursions and dropped down the order.
Virtuosi’s Jack Doohan made early progress from the eighth row of the grid but, as he make a move on Jak Crawford for tenth, contact resulted in the Hitech GP driver sliding into the barriers.
That caused the first of two safety car periods, with most of the leaders taking the opportunity to head to the pitlane to change from soft to medium compound tyres.
The race resumed on lap 13 of 33 with Frederik Vesti leading from Roy Nissany, Enzo Fittipaldi and Kush Maini – the quartet still to make their mandatory stops – with Iwasa the net-leader in fifth.
The drama soon escalated as Rodin Carlin’s Fittipaldi made a punchy move for second through Turns 9 and 10, with Nissany forced off the road. The Charouz driver lost several positions before lunging up back up the inside of Isack Hadjar, who had already made his pitstop, with contact putting the Hitech driver off the road.
Maini profited from it all to run second behind Vesti, with Iwasa climbing to third. Nissany’s eventful race came to a crashing halt after spearing into the barriers exiting turn two in the closing stages, triggering a second safety car period. That allowed the likes of Vesti, Maini and Fittipaldi to finally make their stops, with Iwasa regaining the overall lead.
As they returned to track on cold tyres under the caution period, both Vesti and Fittipaldi slid off the road at Turn 1. Vesti continued, but Fittipaldi then lost control again, narrowly missing Nissany’s stationary car before crashing into the wall.
As the race was about to get underway once more with two laps remaining, Martins locked up and hit the back of third-placed Dennis Hauger who was forced to retire with damage.
Iwasa controlled to the final two laps to win ahead of Pourchaire, with Iwasa’s team-mate Arthur Leclerc completing the podium. Vesti profited from the Martins and Hauger incident to finish fourth ahead of Carlin’s Zane Maloney and MP Motorsport’s Jehan Daruvala.
Richard Verschoor was seventh ahead of Hadjar while Doohan came home ninth after pitting twice during the late safety car period. Maini scored the final point in tenth.
Martins tumbled to 16th, while Prema’s Ollie Bearman was another to have a tough race, incurring an early five-second penalty before suffering a puncture after being driven into in the pitlane after making his tyre stop and ended up once place ahead of Martins in 15th.
Featured image credit: @formula2 official twitter