Thoughts from Iwasa, Martins and Daruvala
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race here in Jeddah. In third place, for MP Motorsport Jehan Daruvala, in second place for ART Grand Prix, Victor Martins, and taking his first win of 2023 for DAMS, our winner Ayumu Iwasa. Ayumu, what an incredible race by you. You had pressures all the way through. Just how good was that?
Ayumu Iwasa: It was massive pressure, and that situation was very similar to Abu Dhabi last year. I was trying to remember that situation and I was trying to manage it well, but unfortunately, I didn't have great speed through the race so I had to manage the pace for each sector. I think the chicane in Sector 2 and the last corner was quite OK, so that's why I could defend well but still it was on the edge. Abu Dhabi was really good training for this.
FIA Formula 2: Tell us about that battle with Drugovich in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year, what did you learn in that that you were able to use today?
Iwasa: Even though I had a big pressure during the race, still I was able to control myself. I was thinking about the situation where I was fast, where I was slow. Then I was trying to manage the pace and I think it was working in Abu Dhabi as it was the same situation, so I think it was a turning point.
FIA Formula 2: You had to manage two Safety Car restarts today. Very different strategies from you for each of those. Talk us through them.
Iwasa: I was not expecting two Safety Cars, but I was trying my best as much as I could. When there was a second Safety Car, I was thinking about the strategy, and that I wanted to do a different start. That's why I started a bit earlier.
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to you. A great race. Victor, wow. From P10 on the grid, what a result for you. How do you sum up that race?
Martins: To be honest, that was a difficult one, to be able to manage my emotion throughout the race. I did an OK start then I think I was P7 after the first few laps. I saw we had a really good pace to come back, and I wanted to take it lap by lap without doing too much. To think about the tyres and take the opportunities when people were fighting and that's what happened. I took every opportunity I had in front and then I just waited and I got into P2. In the end, I could have done more but I was really close to the limit, making mistakes, and I had to manage Jehan behind me and stay in the DRS to help me in the straight. I think it's a good comeback. We had a good pace, but I still need to understand a few things in Sector 2 to be quicker tomorrow.
FIA Formula 2: As you say, it was a fantastic race by you. Did the opportunity get close to presenting itself to overtake Ayu for the lead?
Martins: Not really. Or I would have had to take much more risk and I didn't want to. I think I was communicating with my engineer about being calm and not thinking too much because we have the Feature Race tomorrow and the goal is to not take any penalty or to break anything on the car. It's tomorrow, the big points are there. So no, P2 was enough.
FIA Formula 2: Talking of risk, you very nearly got taken out by your teammate at Turn 1. Can you tell us what happened?
Martins: I was going quite fast. I braked quite late and then I stayed on the line, and I saw Théo going like really, really fast into Bearman. That was a mistake because I was already going really fast and I was catching the orders on the braking, and he came way too fast, so I don't know. I think he needed to stay a bit calmer because we have a good pace, and we can come back later in the race.
FIA Formula 2: Victor, many congratulations to you. Jehan, coming to you now, your second podium in a row here in Jeddah from P5 on the grid. This time it was so close at the end. How do you feel about a P3 finish? Are you disappointed that you didn't win, didn't finish P2 or are you relieved that you weren't off the podium?
Jehan Daruvala: To be honest, there are a bunch of mixed emotions. I would definitely say I was disappointed I didn't win because the car was very good and I had a lot of pace today. But coming from Bahrain, if someone told me I would have this much pace in Jeddah, I would definitely take it. I'm disappointed, but also not disappointed because I took a lot of risks. Ayumu was really good in the last sector, and I wanted to stay close. The only chance to attack him was Turn 1, so I was taking a lot of risks in Turn 2. That's when I made a mistake and Victor got close and I lost the position. I have no regrets. I tried to win the race and, in the end, it didn't pay off.
FIA Formula 2: Tell us a little bit about what you've done to the car since Bahrain because this is a much more competitive showing by you than it was two weeks ago. So how different is the car, or are you driving it differently?
Daruvala: Honestly, I don't have an answer. I've always been fast in Bahrain. It's probably been my best track on the record. Then inthe Feature Race two weeks ago I was pretty much lost. I went backwards the whole race, and I still don't have an explanation, so it was good to bounce back like this. Apart from Victor yesterday, who was in another league in Qualifying, I had the pace to be on the front row. Then today I had a good pace, similar to Victor. All in all, I'm happy and I think I can even fight for the win tomorrow in the Feature Race. A good day in the office.
FIA Formula 2: All right, look well done to you. Well done to all three of you.