Iwasa wins F2 Monaco Sprint
By Mat Coch
Saturday 27th May, 2023 - 11:32pm
Ayumu Iwasa survived two Safety Cars to claim a comfortable victory in the Formula 2 Sprint race in Monaco.
Second in the opening stages, Iwasa benefitted when Isack Hadjar suffered a puncture to inherit the lead.
Once out front, he was never challenged, heading Jehan Daruvala and Jak Crawford to the chequered flag.
Hadjar started on pole and held the lead over Iwasa and Daruvala into the opening corner, the field somehow making it through without incident.
That lasted only half a lap when a host of cars struck trouble at the Nouvelle chicane.
Ralph Boschung, Roy Nissany, Dennis Hauger, Clement Novalak, and Arthur Leclerc were all involved, with Bosching and Nissany eliminated from the race.
Kush Maini triggered the incident after he was pitched into a spin by Novalak.
As the field checked up, Bosching was left with nowhere to go while Leclerc also sustained front wing damage in the clash.
Predictably, the Safety Car was deployed with Hadjar the race leader.
The race resumed on Lap 6, Hadjar immediately reporting a puncture as he found himself swallowed by the field as he climbed Beau Rivage.
Iwasa was promoted to the race lead from Daruvala and Crawford.
The Japanese driver opened a small advantage over his pursuer while the front pair pulled clear of third place.
By mid-distance in the 30-lap affair, they were 6.5s clear, while Richard Verschoor was harrying the rear of Crawford’s Hitech entry.
Sitting sixth, Doohan had recorded the fastest lap, the Australian being pursued by fellow Alpine Academy member Victor Martins.
On Lap 22, the Safety Car was deployed when Amaury Cordeel crashed out at Mirabeau.
Racing resumed on Lap 25, Iwasa accelerating away as he exited the Swimming Pool to hold a 1.5s advantage over Daruvala as he took the green flag.
By the end of the lap, that gap had extended to 3.5s as Daruvala reported a problem in his car.
He continued to drop time, allowing Iwasa to win by 6.6s from Daruvala with Crawford third a further 1.6s back.
Doohan crossed the line sixth, lowering the fastest lap on Lap 28.
Formula 2 returns for its Feature race on Sunday at 09:40 local time.