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…