Ayumu Iwasa left the rest of the Formula 2 in the dust as he stormed his way to his first pole position in the Championship. A blisteringly quick 1:27.930 set in the final few minutes of Qualifying allowed him to better his nearest rival Hitech Grand Prix’s Marcus Armstrong by an astonishing 0.381s, while Felipe Drugovich narrowly pipped Théo Pourchaire to third.
As the sun began to set at the Hungaroring, the field eagerly awaited the lights to go green. Leading the queue of cars out of the pit lane, Armstrong immediately became the benchmark to beat with a 1:29.228 the first representative time of the session.
Piecing the perfect lap together proved to be a less than straightforward affair, as errors marred several drivers opening attempts. While Marino Sato took a trip across the run-off, the DAMS duo of Iwasa and Roy Nissany both suffered heavy lockups.
Despite a heavy ride across the bumpy red and white kerbs, Pourchaire popped himself up into the top spot momentarily before being unseated by ART Grand Prix teammate Frederik Vesti. The duo would not remain side-by-side for long as Drugovich split the pair on his second attempt, sitting only two thousandths down on the Dane’s leading time.
Few drivers improved on their second runs, as Logan Sargeant opted to peel off into the pits rather than set a second time, although he had set personal best times in the opening two sectors. In contrast to Formula 3’s running earlier in the day, Olli Caldwell was the sole driver to run in the gap. This seemed to be a smart strategy for the Campos Racing driver who leapt up from P16 to P1, clocking in 1:28.803 to go over four thousandths quicker than Vesti.
From there it was a nervous time for the Brit, who was forced to sit and wait in the pits as a succession of improvements sent him tumbling back down the order. With 10 minutes remaining, Armstrong regained his hold on provisional pole, as Pourchaire and Sargeant both improved to break into the top three.
However, it was Iwasa’s final run on his second set of softs that proved to be the making of his weekend. While Armstrong failed to improve, the Japanese rookie turned the timing screens purple and threw down the gauntlet to his rivals with an advantage of over three tenths.
There was nothing the field could do to outclass the Red Bull junior who jubilantly celebrated his long-awaited and highly sought-after first pole position in F2 and a coveted P1 on the grid for Sunday’s Feature Race.
Early pace-setter Armstrong had to settle for second, ahead of Drugovich and Pourchaire. After his difficulties in executing a clean lap in Practice, Sargeant managed to snatch fifth, 0.010s ahead of the second Hitech of Jüri Vips. Vesti held on to seventh, as Dennis Hauger put his Practice-ending woes behind him to take eighth.
Enzo Fittipaldi put Charouz Racing System in the fight for points once again in P9, having been firmly in the midfield fight throughout the session. Lastly, Jack Doohan secured the reverse grid pole position for the Sprint Race by rounding out the top 10, seventh tenths down on Iwasa.
The Virtuosi Racing driver will get racing underway when the action returns at 18:00 local time on Saturday.