Ayumu Iwasa held his calm to win an incident-filled feature F2 race in Australia, as Gabriel Bortoleto does so in F3.
It was a sunny feature F2 race in Australia as pole-sitter Ayumu Iwasa started well in his DAMS car from ART’s Theo Pourchaire who got the better of his teammate Victor Martins. Hitech GP’s Isack Hadjar was fourth from Prema’s Oliver Bearman.
DAMS’ Arthur Leclerc gained to be sixth from MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger, Carlin’s Zane Maloney, HitechGP’s Jak Crawford and Campos’ Kush Maini in the Top 10. The Indian had a small moment at Turn 9 and then another a lap later to drop to 15th.
There was contact between Trident’s Clement Novalak and Van Amersfoort’s Juan Manuel Correa which forced Correa into the pits with a puncture and front wing damage. Things settled in the front but the were fight for points in the fag end of the Top 10.
After Maini dropped out, Prema’s Frederik Vesti jumped inside the Top 10 and was pushing Crawford. He passed him eventually as Virtuosi’s Jack Doohan passed MP Motorsport’s Jehan Daruvala to get on the back of the American driver.
As Doohan pressed on to move ahead of Crawford, the American took an evasive action in the right-hander to stop on the gravel trap. It resulted in a safety car period where the pit stop saw incident between Hadjar and Bearman when the Frenchman was released.
While Hadjar complained of a problem, Bearman was forced to another stop due to puncture. The Brit already had a 5s penalty for forcing another driver off on Lap 1 where Maloney was involved. The safety car period saw Vesti in as a default leader.
PHM Charouz’s Roy Nissany was second from Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi and Maini, with net leader Iwasa in fifth from Virtuosi’s Amaury Cordeel. There was an interesting strategy from Doohan who switched to soft and then back to medium under safety car.
The re-start worked well for Vesti but Nissany had Fittipaldi on him as a move from the Brazilian saw them go wide together which allowed Maini to second. Fittipaldi kept third but Nissany started to lose places after multiple incidents with more drivers.
It involved Hadjar who went off and dropped off, while there was a moment with Cordeel too. There were investigations too for such moves as Pourchaire and Cordeel were cleared of a safety car infringement. At the front, Vesti continued to lead the way.
Iwasa got to second from Pourchaire and Hauger in the real Top 3 as Maini hung on to fifth from Martins, Leclerc, Fittipaldi, Maloney and Daruvala in the Top 10. There was another moment on the gravel for Bearman outside the Top 10 but caught well.
Before anything more could happen, Nissany ran on the grass to have a spin and hit the wall to retire. While the safety car was deployed, there was another incident where Vesti went off and Fittipaldi spun while coming out the pit.
As Fittipaldi tried to get around, he tapped the wall which damaged his suspension. Unknowingly he continued and crashed onto the wall for the safety car to remain. There was a 10s time penalty handed to Hadjar for going off and rejoining unsafely.
At the front, Iwasa led the way from Pourchaire, Hauger, Martins, Leclerc, Maloney, Vesti, Daruvala, Verschoor and Hadjar in the Top 10 behind the safety car. But even before the re-start, Martins locked-up to hit the back of Hauger.
The Norwegian had to retire while Martins went off to rejoin but is under investigation. At the front, Iwasa held off Pourchaire to win the feature F2 race in Australia as Leclerc held off Vesti for the final place on the podium, but the Monegasque is under investigation.
Vesti passed Maloney on the re-start to be fourth, with Daruvala up to sixth from Verschoor, Hadjar, Doohan and Maini who passed Trident’s Roman Stanek for the final point. But with the penalty to Hadjar, it helped Hadjar, Maini and Stanek in Top 10.
#F2 #AustralianGP What…. a….. crazy….. Feature Race. Hadjar drops down after a 5 second time penalty. Iwasa staight out of trouble from start to finish and wins the race. #MsportXtra @F2Inside pic.twitter.com/mt2MD5w2is
— #MsportXtra © (@MsportXtra) April 2, 2023
UPDATE: Roman Stanek has received a five-second time penalty for overtaking Kush Maini during the second Safety Car period. The Stewards determined that the Trident driver overtook Maini at Turn 1, after the Campos Racing driver had been ahead at the Safety Car Line 2. As a result, the Czech racer is demoted from P10 to P14 in the final classification.
Oliver Bearman has been awarded a 10-second time penalty for failing to serve his five-second time penalty correctly. This means the PREMA Racing driver falls to P17 in the final results. Victor Martins has been handed a 10-second time penalty after being found wholly responsible for making contact with Dennis Hauger. The Stewards found that the ART Grand Prix hit Hauger from the rear in the braking zone of Turn 13 on the second Safety Car restart, causing the MP Motorsport driver to spin. The penalty drops the Frenchman to P18 in the final standings.
Bortoleto got a great launch to immediately cover off any threat for the lead into the first corner as the top five remained as they were on the grid. Contact between Sebastián Montoya and Christian Mansell into Turn 11 left the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver out of the race.
On Lap 2, Franco Colapinto claimed seventh from Luke Browning on the run to Turn 3 but his joy was short-lived. The MP Motorsport driver made brief contact with the Briton completing the move and sustained a puncture. That sent him into the barriers at Turn 5 and out of the race.
Mari Boya was also off, making contact with Nikola Tsolov approaching Turn 9 and speeding off the track into the gravel. The Safety Car was subsequently deployed with Boya out on the spot. Kaylen Frederick was out before racing got back to green. He made contact with Tsolov and was out on Lap 5.
Racing got back underway entering Lap 6 with Bortoleto keeping his closest rivals at bay, but he couldn’t escape from DRS range of Saucy. Browning claimed sixth place from Paul Aron with DRS assistance into Turn 1 on Lap 10, while Josep María Martí was on a charge.
The Spaniard went from 30th to 21st on the first lap alone, and he was battling Campos Racing teammate Mansell for 12th. Martí took the position out of Turn 11 on Lap 12, taking advantage of Mansell’s baulked momentum after the Australian tried to overtake Trident’s Oliver Goethe.
Contact between Ido Cohen and Rafael Villagómez out of Turn 4 the following lap spun the Rodin Carlin man into the barriers, bringing out the Safety Car once more. The Van Amersfoort Racing man was handed a 10-second time penalty for the incident.
Back to racing conditions on Lap 16 and Martí was on the move again, clearing Goethe into Turn 4 to take 11th position. That became 10th on Lap 18 after he put a brave move on Jonny Edgar, going around the outside at Turn 9.
Saucy began to close the gap to Bortoleto ahead with a fastest lap on Lap 17 and he was within half a second with three laps to go. Unfortunately for the Swiss, Bortoleto managed the gap to the end to take the victory. Minì held on to third after coming under late-race pressure from Leonardo Fornaroli, who finished fourth to put two Trident’s in the top five.
Zak O’Sullivan was fifth for PREMA Racing ahead of Browning. Contact on the final lap between Dino Beganovic and Caio Collet left them both with damage three corners from home, but the PREMA driver was able to take P8 ahead of a resurgent Martí in ninth. Taylor Barnard rounded out the points for Jenzer Motorsport in 10th position, taking his maiden F3 point.
— #MsportXtra © (@MsportXtra) April 2, 2023
UPDATE: Five drivers have been penalised following the conclusion of Round 2’s Feature Race in Melbourne. Luke Browning has received a five-second time penalty for causing a collision with Franco Colapinto. The Stewards determined that the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver was predominantly at fault for the collision. The penalty drops the Briton to P8 in the final standings.
Dino Beganovic has been handed a 10-second penalty for causing a collision with Caio Collet. The Stewards found that the Swede was at fault for causing a puncture to the Van Amersfoort Racing driver. It means the PREMA Racing man falls to 13th in the final classification.
Mari Boya has been given a 10-second time penalty that has been converted into a five-place grid drop. The MP Motorsport driver was judged to have been at fault for a collision with ART Grand Prix’s Nikola Tsolov. PHM Racing by Charouz’s Roberto Faria has been awarded a five-place grid drop for an incident with Tsolov at Turn 11. The Stewards deemed the Brazilian wholly responsible for the contact.
Lastly, Kaylen Frederick has received a 10-place grid penalty for driving erratically. The Stewards found that the ART Grand Prix driver was responsible for the collision with Tsolov at Turn 3. All drivers with grid drops will serve their penalties in the next race in which they compete.
Here’s how F2 and F3 sprint races panned out