A smiley Ayumu Iwasa was delighted with his drive from last to eighth in the Sprint Race on Saturday, but despite moving up a mega 14 positions, the DAMS racer still feels he’s got a lot to improve on.

Iwasa went from zero to hero in the Sprint Race after a retirement at the start of Qualifying on Friday put him at the back of the grid for both Saturday and Sunday.

Discussing his evening’s work, the Red Bull and Honda-backed driver revealed that some positive words from his team fuelled his phenomenal performance in the Sprint Race.

“I was so nervous after Qualifying yesterday,” admitted Iwasa. “The team told me on Saturday morning 'this is another day, and we can come back' and because of that, I could refresh just before the session.

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Iwasa drove from last to eighth in the Sprint Race
Iwasa drove from last to eighth in the Sprint Race

“I thought that I should do my best for the team and that is what I think I did. At least I could get into the points because that is really important.

“At the end, some of the cars in front of me were struggling with their tyres. I overtook a few cars really easily because my tyre potential was really good compared to them. Sometimes at the start, though, I couldn't overtake very quickly.”

It was an entertaining debut from the Japanese rookie, who stepped up to F2 after a sole season of Formula 3 with Hitech Grand Prix, which yielded one victory and 12th place in the standings.

Despite his heroics on his racing debut for DAMS, Iwasa asserted that his focus was already on Sunday’s Feature Race and what he could do better moving forward.

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Iwasa is in his rookie season of F2 with DAMS
Iwasa is in his rookie season of F2 with DAMS

“I am just focusing on what I can do and what I can improve,” he explained. “I think that I had some margin left on the tyre. But overall, I could manage the tyre well and during the VCS I could manage the tyre temp.

“At the beginning, I thought that I was pushing a little bit too much because I wanted to overtake a lot, so I can still improve at the start of the race and with my tyre management.

“I will see what happens in the Feature Race. In testing, I didn’t do well in the long-runs on the hard tyre, so we will see what happens. I will just try and do my best again. I have never done a Feature Race before, so it will be really interesting.”