Iwasa holds off Drugovich to win feature race, Sargeant secures superlicence

Formula 2

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Ayumu Iwasa held off champion Felipe Drugovich to win the final feature race in Yas Marina while Logan Sargeant secured his F1 superlicence for 2023.

Iwasa had taken pole during Friday’s qualifying session, team mate Roy Nissany joining him on the front row for DAMS’ first front row lockout for a decade. At the start, the two went wheel-to-wheel, with Nissany slightly ahead into turn one, however by turn six Iwasa had secured the lead.

Liam Lawson pushed Logan Sargeant wide, the Williams hopeful forced to go over the kerbs in order to remain on the track and keep his hopes of securing a superlicence alive.

Ralph Boschung spun on the entrance to turn nine, causing a brief yellow flag after his car stopped, which became a Virtual Safety Car to retrieve the Campos. Unable to pit under VSC or in the opening laps, drivers on soft tyres were unable to take any advantage.

Nissany’s pace dropped off rapidly on the restart, Iwasa able to draw away and deny his team mate DRS. Drugovich had no such issues, cleanly passing Nissany on lap six, before Pourchaire almost did the same a lap later, only for Nissany to fight back through turn nine.

Pit stops started on lap eight, Dennis Hauger and sprint race winner Liam Lawson the first to pit. Iwasa and Théo Pourchaire followed on lap nine, with Drugovich pitting on lap ten and Sargeant finally coming in on lap 11. Aggravated, he asked Carlin why he had pitted so late, audibly stressed on the radio as he found himself behind team mate Lawson, the driver who could take third in the standings from him most easily.

At the front of the pack that had pitted, Lawson was harassing Drugovich for net second, on lap 14 and forced an error from the 2022 F2 champion that allowed him to take the position from the MP driver.

Jack Doohan was on the alternate strategy, starting on a medium tyre. By lap 20 he had an enormous lead, although still needed to pit. Marcus Armstrong was issued a five-second time penalty for track limits infringements, already more than six and a half seconds back from Doohan and sliding half a second further back by lap 21.

Doohan finally pitted on lap 26, giving the lead on track to Enzo Fittipaldi but with Iwasa just behind him. Doohan’s pit stop, however, turned disastrous, his front left tyre coming off seconds after emerging from the pits. Other drivers managed to avoid the loos wheel on the run down to turn five and Doohan pulled off to the support paddock pits, his race undone.

A brief Virtual Safety Car to retrieve the wheel ended on lap 28 with Drugovich right behind Iwasa. However, the DAMS driver was able to run more than a second down the track almost immediately, keeping Drugovich from having DRS.

Sargeant claimed sixth place from Nissany into turn one of lap 30, then almost immediately gained another place for fifth as Pourchaire’s ART gave up two laps before the end of the race.

Drugovich refused to halt his hunt for the win, while Iwasa was equally determined not let him have it. A speculative move around the outside of turn 12 kept Iwasa under heavy pressure, but he resisted. Suddenly, the race was once again neutralised by a Virtual Safety Car due to Olli Caldwell’s Campos stopping on track.

The Virtual Safety Car ended on the final lap, as Iwasa and Drugovich crossed the control line for the penultimate time. Drugovich fought Iwasa hard around the outside of turn nine, but the DAMS driver held him off until the final corner, taking his second win of the season. Lawson followed the pair to take the final podium of the season in third.

Drugovich’s second place means MP claim the teams’ as well as drivers’ title for 2022, with Carlin beating ART for second place. Sargeant’s fifth place finish makes his superlicense secure, although Lawson passes him for third in the 2022 title standings. Pourchaire remains second, despite his failure to finish.

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Formula 2 Abu Dhabi race two results

PositionCarDriverTeam
117Ayumu IwasaDAMS
211Felipe DrugovichMP
35Liam LawsonCarlin
41Dennis HaugerPrema
56Logan SargeantCarlin
625Amaury CordeelVan Amersfoort
720Richard VerschoorTrident
88Juri VipsHitech
97Marcus ArmstrongHitech
1016Roy NissanyDAMS
119Frederik VestiART
1212Clement NovalakMP
132Jehan DaruvalaPrema
1422Enzo FittipaldiCharouz
154Marino SatoVirtuosi
1621Zane MaloneyTrident
1724Juan Manuel CorreaVan Amersfoort
1823Tatiana CalderonCharouz
1910Theo PourchaireART
DNF14Olli CaldwellCampos
DNF3Jack DoohanVirtuosi
DNFRalph BoschungCampos

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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8 comments on “Iwasa holds off Drugovich to win feature race, Sargeant secures superlicence”

  1. Good for Sargeant. Therefore, Mick will become a Mercedes reserve in all likelihood.

  2. Was an interesting watch considering what was at stake. Seemed a bit ridiculous knowing that a technical issue would mean Sargeant is not competent enough to race in F1 but as long as his car held out, he is good enough….

    1. F1TV commentators said he only needed a penalty point-free race to secure the superlicence.

      Superlicence points system in another overcomplication of things.

      1. @f1mre No, top 8 regardless of other drivers’ positions & bonus point.

        1. @jerejj Top 8 in the championship, not the race. The way things shook out, Sargeant would have finished 5th in the standings even if he hadn’t participated in the entire weekend, and that would have been enough.

          1. @wsrgo Top 8 in the race, 7 in the championship from what I knew beforehand, but irrelevant now.

    2. I Agree @petebaldwin , i was sick of hearing the commentator Alex Jacques spending too much time explaining all of the 4dchess permutations for Logan Sargeant needing enough super licence points when most neutrals was more interested in ACTUAL RACING such as the Drugo Iwasa hard fight for the win.

      In a way you have Max to thank for the complex superlicence system as the FIA needed to bring in a minimum yardstick to stop nepotism 17 year olds or spoilt billionaire sons jumping into F1 straight from regional F3/F4 tier racing.

      It has mostly been a success because Under the current super licence system there would be no way the likes of Stroll or Latifi would be able to jump directly into F1 and would have to prove their ‘skill’ in F2, indycar, superformula etc to gain enough points to race. Without this system I guarantee Roy Nissany would be in F1 at Williams being a mobile chicane.

      The main downside of super licence system is that the FIA by design has made F2 a highly lucrative monopoly gatekeeper for entry to F1 now as the points awarded in non FIA sanctioned single seaters makes it practically impossible to reach F1 (Logan Sargeant finishing 4th in F2 got more super licence points than the Japan Super formula champion..) .
      In the past you could race Renault world series or Japanese F3000-Formula Nippon-Super formula but now drivers are forced to enter F2(Renault world series folded because of this) if they want any realistic chance to enter F1.
      Also another downside of the FIA making F2 a closed shop way to enter F1 is that you have drivers like Zhou who spent multiple seasons in F2 not coming close to winning the title can gain enough super licence points by just ‘hanging around’ long enough in F2.

      Anyway what a great win for Iwasa and his second feature race win in his amazing rookie season, he would be fighting for 2nd if the team did not have an horrific start to the season and being disqualified at Monza for excessive plank wear.
      I think Iwasa is the better talent than Tsunoda but due to how the super licence points system works he needs another season in F2 before Honda puts him in F1 for 2024.. At least Iwasa will be the huge favourite for the 2023 F2 title outright!

  3. It sis great to see Sargeant to get his Super License. But the sad part will be watching Nicholas Latifi go. We hope he lands in another team as a reserve or test driver.

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