Iwasa on how he will convert his maiden F2 pole to victory: ‘I need to prepare a lot’

It was double delight for Japan’s Ayumu Iwasa after the DAMS driver scored his maiden victory in the Feature Race last weekend in Paul Ricard and followed that up with the pole for this Sunday’s Feature Race at the Hungaroring. F1 Feeder Series spoke to Iwasa after Friday’s qualifying session about the pressure of starting at the front for the first time.

by Tyler Foster

The DAMS rookie was perilously close to pole position in France last week, but after failing to get a final flying lap in before the chequered flag, Iwasa dropped from his provisional pole position to P2. He still went on to dominate in the Feature Race after taking the lead from Doohan on the first lap, eventually winning with a margin of over 8.5 seconds.

Following this convincing display, Iwasa made it clear in qualifying on Friday around the Hungaroring that this wasn’t a fluke and that his talent should be more respected. The Japanese 20-year-old showed this talent by taking pole at the last moment with a flying lap that put him nearly four tenths quicker than his nearest competitor, Marcus Armstrong in P2. 

Unleashing his pace

We asked Iwasa about the progression he has seen in the last few rounds in qualifying, as well as what the main difficulties will be to prepare for on Sunday.

“In the last weekend we got two quite good contests from me and the team as well,” said Iwasa. “I was really close to pole position in Paul Ricard last weekend. I wanted to get pole position because in a way always I was having good speed, but I couldn’t put together my one lap so it was an improvement, and then [on Friday] finally I could do it so this is one positive point.

I think it should be quite different from [the] Paul Ricard weekend so I need to prepare a lot

Ayumu Iwasa

“About the Feature Race on Sunday, basically I should prepare for the race because the race should be really difficult on this track with tyre management and race management. I think it should be quite different from Paul Ricard weekend so I need to prepare a lot.”

Advice from the leader

Starting from P1 rather than P2 will mean that Iwasa will now be the first driver under pressure at the start, with the expectations much higher for him than this time last week. We asked championship leader Felipe Drugovich if he had any advice for the rookie polesitter, as Drugovich himself experienced the pressure of winning a Feature Race and then grabbing the next subsequent pole in Monaco, where he converted it to victory.

“I think it adds a little bit of pressure,” said Drugovich, “but at the same time gives a lot of confidence. To be fair, I was pretty chilled out in Monaco and I think he should be also for Sunday. Especially in tracks like this and Monaco where the only thing you need to try and get is a good start and then after that is should be straight forward. At least for me, Monaco was about getting a good start.”

I think it adds a little bit of pressure, but at the same time gives a lot of confidence

Felipe Drugovich

Iwasa had a decent performance in the Sprint Race, gaining two places from his P10 start and therefore scoring the final point. He currently sits P9 in the championship on 75 points, but victory in the Feature Race could result in the Japanese driver jumping as high as P4 in the standings.

Header Photo Credit: Formula 2

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