Despite being one of the biggest climbers of yesterday’s Sprint Race, Ayumu Iwasa doesn’t believe he maximised his potential around the Baku City Circuit.
Jumping up from P13 to the final points-paying position in P8, the DAMS driver showed a burst of pace. However, Iwasa believes struggling to get his Pirelli mediums tyres in the right window hampered his performance.
“Actually overall, our race wasn’t that great because I was struggling with tyre management. I think my management wasn’t too bad, I was just struggling with the car’s balance a little bit, which was affecting the tyres. We need to check and prepare for the Feature Race tomorrow and find some improvement with my driving.
“Still my pace was not great so there is something still to find. It’s quite difficult for me because if my management is not very good - it’s easy, I just do my job in the next race. I will find a solution for it. My management wasn’t perfect, sometimes I had the margin, sometimes I made mistakes, so I have to improve it.
Although Iwasa’s race might not have been all he hoped for, the Japanese driver says he loves driving around the Azerbaijani capital for the first time - even after his crash in Qualifying denied him a shot at a maiden pole position in Formula 2.
“Until my crash, I was enjoying it! I think this track is very good for my driving style. 90-degree corners are really good to drive with the feeling in the car and tyres. I’m enjoying it but I’m not happy with P13, so I need to go forward during the race. In the Feature Race, getting in the points or a podium will be possible, so I’m focusing on that.”
Now the Red Bull junior’s thoughts have turned to how he can recreate his charge through the field. Starting from P13 once again, Iwasa thinks this could prove to be more of a challenge as managing two different tyre compounds and varying strategies have the potential to shake up the order.
“Firstly, I think it will depend on the temperatures because yesterday it was quite hot, so it made it really difficult to manage the tyre temp. We don’t know our strategy yet. I’m in the middle of the pack so it will be difficult anyways. I will prepare my driving for each of the tyres, the supersoft may be different – interesting.
“At least I had really, really good speed in Quali and in Free Practice. I think my pace is not too bad, but still later it was not enough. Strategy will have a big effect on the result, so we need to think about that.”