Having come so close to achieving his first Formula 2 victory back at Silverstone, Ayumu Iwasa did not let a second chance pass him by in the Le Castellet Feature Race.
A decisive overtake on the opening lap was enough to put the DAMS driver up and into the lead. From then on, Iwasa put on a masterclass in confident and controlled racing that belied his rookie status, finishing over eight seconds clear of his closest challenger.
Taking over the reigns of our ninth Guest Column of the 2022 season, the Red Bull junior was struggling to find any lows as he reflected on a triumpant weekend and already has his sights set on making another step forward in Budapest.
GOOD POINT - SHOWING OUR PROMISING PACE
We could show our potential this weekend. It was a really, really big point for us, as we had very good speed through the weekend, even not just this weekend. Throughout the season so far we've had really good speed but we couldn't get the results so we were missing them. I think this round we put it all together.
ONE BAD POINT – TRAFFIC JAMS
I can't find a big bad point from this weekend because Free Practice was quite good. In Qualifying, I couldn't do a second push because there was huge traffic jam at the end of the cool lap, so that was quite tough and it was the same for a lot of drivers.
Maybe my Sprint Race tyre management and fighting for position in the opening lap because I lost a position on the first lap, I think I can improve that for next event.
WHAT I LEARNED – OUR TRUE POTENIAL
We couldn't get good enough results in the Feature Races before but finally we did! We did what we wanted to do in the race.
We had an average start but a good overtake, great tyre management on the soft and hard tyre, good pit stop from the mechanics and pace management - everything was what we wanted to do. I think it was quite a positive race for us as a team so that's a good sign for the next event at the Hungaroring.
FANS MAY HAVE MISSED – PUZZLING PIT STOP CALLS
During the Feature Race, we were struggling to decide a clear strategy for the pit stop. On Lap 11 or 12, my engineer was telling me to "box, box" but I tried to push a little bit because it was right before I'd stop. I improved my sector and lap time overall, so then my engineer told me "okay, stay out".
This happened twice! It was quite difficult for me because when I heard "box, box" I was thinking 'okay, box' but then I stayed out. Then I heard "box, box" and I ended up staying out again.
NEXT UP – BUDAPEST
I have good confidence in my driving there because I really like the Hungaroring track and I had quite good speed there last year in Formula 3, so that's a positive. Also, so far this season the car has always been quick, so it should be really quick in Budapest - I hope!
I will see what the potential is in Free Practice and then we will try to improve, even small bits, for Qualifying to get pole position. Next time I want to get pole! That's my aim but I don't think about it too much, I will do my job and the team will do theirs and then we will go for it.