DAMS takes double-points in Barcelona Feature Race
DAMS secured a double-points finish in the Feature Race as FIA Formula 2 visited Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona for Round 7 of the 2023 campaign, with Ayumu Iwasa narrowly missing out on a podium position.
Iwasa was in the battle for pole throughout qualifying, eventually finishing fourth, with Arthur Leclerc just outside the top-10 in 13th.
Beginning the semi-reverse grid Sprint Race in sixth, the Red Bull Junior got a strong start, but contact from behind sent him wide on the opening lap. Pushing through the wet conditions, both drivers pitted under the Safety Car for slick tyres as the track dried, with Iwasa claiming the final point in eighth, just ahead of Leclerc in ninth.
On Sunday, Iwasa was again quick off the line, battling for the lead into Turn 1. Following his mandatory pit stop, the Japanese driver found his way through the alternate strategy runners to sit third, before being caught by those on fresher tyres. Iwasa fought hard and was able to secure fourth place. Meanwhile, Ferrari Driver Academy member Leclerc had a solid race, using the alternate strategy to good effect to move up to ninth and score two points.
Ayumu Iwasa: “In qualifying we made a big step as a team and learned a lot. I think we could have gone quicker, but P4 was a solid result. The first lap on Saturday was really difficult, I struggled for grip and then got pushed off the track, so I dropped down some positions. A few laps in I had really good pace and managed to recover, but after the Safety Car it was difficult to overtake as some parts of the track were still wet off the racing line. In the Feature Race we had good speed again, the team did a great job to help me gain a position in the pit stop phase. Towards the end I was under attack from those on the alternate strategy, it was a shame to lose the podium, but we claimed a solid amount of points in fourth.”
Qualifying: 4th | Sprint Race: 8th (+1 point) | Feature Race: 4th (+12 points)
Arthur Leclerc: “I’m not happy with my lap in qualifying, it wasn’t good enough for the top-10. It’s something I need to work on for the future. In Race 1, we had good pace in the wet. The start was strong and I kept pushing, but unfortunately we ran out of laps to make it into the points. Today I was pleased with the drive, starting P12 we ran long on the alternate strategy and managed to get into the top-10. We’ll continue to work hard in the next few weeks and hope to score more points in Austria.”
Qualifying: 13th | Sprint Race: 9th | Feature Race: 9th (+2 points)
Charles Pic, Team Owner: “Both drivers were happy with the car in qualifying, and I think we left some performance out there, we only needed slight improvements to be further up the grid with both cars. Ayumu was unfortunate in the Sprint Race, he got pushed on the first lap and dropped a few positions. Both drivers had good pace, it was a difficult one, with the drying track and everybody switching to slicks when the Safety Car was called out. Today, Ayumu was fighting for P1 at the first corner, but unfortunately he was on the outside so didn’t get the best run and couldn’t make it stick. He raced hard, the team did a good job with the timing of the pit stop, which also helped him gain a position. Some traffic made it difficult with those on the alternate strategy, which cost us some time and he was caught by those on fresher tyres at the end. He did well to defend and secure P4, taking important points for the championship. On Arthur’s side, we decided to start him on the hard tyres and go long, which worked as he was able to gain a few positions in the pit stop phase. It’s difficult to overtake on this track, so P9 was a good result from where he was on the grid.”
Image: Dutch Photo Agency