Ayumu Iwasa believes that there was more time on the table for him in Qualifying after ending up fifth on the grid for the Feature Race. The DAMS driver showed glimpses of pace that put him in contention for pole position, but couldn’t thread together the ideal lap to land him on the front row.

Despite the disappointment for the Japanese driver, he was in a reflective mood afterwards. While his grid position wasn’t what he’d been hoping for, Iwasa says there is enough evidence so far this weekend that the team can secure better results in the Sprint and Feature Races.

After stepping out of the car, the Red Bull junior said that traffic and mistakes had cost him but there was potential for improved speed for Saturday’s Sprint.

“It was a bit frustrating for me because I got a bit of traffic out of T13, but, it wasn’t like Hungary, I didn’t have huge potential. The car was quick and my driving wasn’t bad so pole position was possible, but at least P2 or P3 was easily possible. P3 was just three-thousandths in front of me. I lost two or three tenths from traffic and then I could’ve gained after with a tow. I made a bit of a mistake at some corners, maybe P3 or P2 was possible.

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“A bit frustrated but I have confidence. Last year in F3 I went to the podium in the race and Qualifying wasn’t bad. I can improve from last year even though it’s a different category. This is a positive and I’m interested to see the race potential.”

Tyre life was a big factor in the Qualifying session as drivers were on the edge of being able to eek out a second flying lap on the softs or forced to commit to a single effort on their first push.

READ MORE: QUALIFYING: Dominant Drugovich makes it two poles in a row

Iwasa said that while he was able to push for a second timed lap on the red-walled Pirellis, the tyre life was marginal which could promote interesting strategic choices in the Feature Race come Sunday.

“I could improve on the last push which was the second for me. I’m not sure the tyre was still perfect on warm-up, but I could feel similar potential in the tyre between the first push and the second push. I don’t think there was a big difference but maybe I should’ve done a better lap in the first push, because I had some margin and a mistake. Compared to the hard, the grip was different and a big step.

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“It will be really tough, but maybe it will be fun to drive in the race because there could be a lot of drama. I don’t need to do a perfect job, but I should do my job in the Sprint, finish the race and then see the improvements in the car and my driving. Then we’ll focus on the Feature Race because it will be quite difficult with the strategy and the tyre management. I think especially the tyre management will be quite difficult. It will be interesting to see.”

Iwasa is one of the drivers on the Formula 2 grid with prior and recent experience around Zandvoort. The Red Bull junior raced in Formula 3 last year at the Dutch circuit, securing a P3 finish in race one in 2021.

READ MORE: Novalak looking for good results on MP Motorsport home turf

While his knowledge of the circuit came in handy during the Practice and Qualifying sessions, Iwasa said that the differences between the two cars demanded more from him physically, and the power at his disposal made Zandvoort a tricky challenge beyond the old-school layout.

“I could feel quite more downforce through the high-speed corners, T7 and T8. The steering is heavier in F2 than in F3. F2 has bigger tyres and more downforce which means it’s more difficult on the physical side. To be honest I did struggle quite a bit today. It was ok but the main difference was in the high-speed potential of the car. Also the traction and power, F2 has much more power than F3.”