DAMS adds points to its tally during frustrating Spa weekend
DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa scored points in the FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps after an excellent drive, despite an otherwise difficult weekend for the team.
In typical Spa style, Friday’s qualifying session was rain-affected. Starting on a dry track, the threat of wet weather was imminent, so every team sent their drivers out immediately after a red flag stoppage. With DAMS’ pit box based at the end of the lane, Leclerc and Iwasa were at the back of the pack. This meant they caught rain in Sector 2, limiting the duo’s ability to set competitive lap times and as a result, they would line up side-by-side on Row 8 of the grid.
Both drivers made excellent progress in Saturday’s Sprint Race, with Iwasa putting on an overtaking show to move through the field. After a post-race disqualification for another driver, the Red Bull Junior was classified seventh, scoring two points, while Ferrari Driver Academy member Leclerc was ninth despite battling an engine issue.
On Sunday, the pair were both involved in contact during the opening laps of the Feature Race, with Iwasa retiring due to steering damage and Leclerc having to pit with a puncture, eventually finishing P11 in a chaotic race.
Ayumu Iwasa: “Friday was difficult in terms of conditions throughout. In qualifying, we were caught in the rain in Sector 2, which meant we couldn’t be competitive. If we were a minute earlier or had a better position in the pits, we could’ve done a much quicker lap, so it was just bad luck on our side. In the Sprint Race, I pushed hard and had good pace. I was able to make a lot of overtakes, which was great. Today was frustrating, I got oversteer on the medium tyres on the first lap and was involved in contact, which damaged my steering and we had to retire. We’ll and look to come back strongly at Zandvoort after the summer break.”
Qualifying: 16th | Sprint Race: 7th (+2 points) | Feature Race: DNF
Arthur Leclerc: “It was an unfortunate weekend for me, qualifying was frustrating as we could’ve been much higher on the grid if the rain held off a bit longer or if we had a better pit lane position. An engine issue limited my performance in the Sprint Race, but I still made up several positions to take P9. Today, I was hit on the entry of Eau Rouge and sent into a scary spin. Luckily I kept it out of the wall and was able to continue, although we had to pit with a puncture. We didn’t give up and continued to push, eventually taking P11 at the flag. We were one place out of the points in both races, which was a shame, but we’ll look to have a positive end to the season when the championship resumes in late August.”
Qualifying: 15th | Sprint Race: 9th | Feature Race: 11th
Charles Pic, Team Owner: “Qualifying was a lottery, we had dry running at the start but after the red flag we knew it was just about to rain. Unfortunately we found ourselves at the back of the pack at the restart due to our position in the pitlane, meaning Ayu and Arthur caught rain as those at the front were able to complete their laps in dry conditions. In the Sprint Race, we showed our speed, Ayu fought until the last corner and claimed two points for seventh. Meanwhile, Arthur had an engine issue that limited his capability to overtake, but he still made up several places and had a positive race to take ninth. Today didn’t go the way we hoped, both drivers were involved in incidents early on. Ayu had to retire, which was a shame as we put him on the alternate strategy, which turned out to be the winning one. Meanwhile, Arthur had a puncture after he was sent into a spin at the bottom of Eau Rouge, but never gave up and fought hard to recover to P11, unluckily missing out on points again. Now it’s time for a well-deserved break and we’ll target a strong return to racing at Zandvoort.”
Image: Dutch Photo Agency