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Iwasa Drugovich Lawson F2 Sargeant

F2 Abu Dhabi Feature Race results: Iwasa and Drugovich fight to the line

Although the Drivers' Championship is already wrapped up, there was still much to race for, including: The Teams' Championship and Logan Sargeant's Super Licence

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And so, it all came down to this: the final competitive session of the 2022 F2 season. 28 races in 13 countries across 14 rounds over nine months.

Iwasa Drugovich Lawson F2 Sargeant MP Motorsport ART Carlin
Having already won the F2 Drivers’ Championship, Felipe Drugovich went into the final race of the season hoping to take MP Motorsport to the Teams’ Championship. (Image Credit: @OfficialMPTeam on Twitter)

Heading into the last Sunday of the season, there were two key questions still left unanswered. Firstly, would it be MP Motorsport or ART Grand Prix, or maybe even Carlin, to claim the Teams’ Championship? And secondly, will Logan Sargeant secure his Super Licence?

Also of note, Zane Maloney in his first F2 Feature Race with Trident and Juan Manuel Correa – with VAR for the weekend and maybe more – in his first since 2019.

Strategy-wise, most of the front runners opted for the soft tyre first. Jack Doohan being the frontmost competitor on the alternate strategy.

Start

A good start for Roy Nissany sees him challenge his pole-sitting teammate into the first corner. The two fighting side-by-side all the way down the first back straight. Behind, Felipe Drugovich claims P3. Liam Lawson and Logan Sargeant battle through the chicane before Clement Novalak goes wide at Turn 9 – the same corner that sees Ralph Boschung retire from the race with an ailing Campos.

Lap 2 brings a Virtual Safety Car and radio from Sargeant: “Liam pushed me off!” Clearly, Lawson would be true to his word from yesterday. Sargeant’s fight for a Super Licence is not his concern.

When the race resumes on lap 3, Theo Pourchaire quickly dispenses Dennis Hauger. He sets off in pursuit of Drugovich with the Teams’ Championship on the line.

Soft-to-Hard pit stops

By lap 7 – and the opening of the pit lane – a gap has started to form between Lawson and his teammate behind. Up front, Nissany loses DRS to Ayumu Iwasa in the lead. Drugovich, ever-instinctive and almost always on the pace, pounces. After fighting for a few corners, he takes P2 at Turn 9.

Hauger and Lawson pit at the end of the lap, but there appears to be some confusion: his team wanted him to do the opposite of Hauger, not the same.

Pourchaire takes P3 from Nissany, who is starting to struggle, but makes a mistake and the Israeli driver takes it right back. Pourchaire then pits. As does race leader Iwasa.

This all proves costly for the ART man, who gets taken by Hauger. In defence, he cuts the back chicane and has to yield.

The end of lap 9 sees leader Drugovich, Nissany and Sargeant pit. All negotiate it without issue. Lawson’s early stop has helped him move through the pack, now ahead of Hauger and Pourchaire and right on the back of the F2 champion, Drugovich.

Doohan still heads the field, on the harder tyres, on lap 11 of 33. Iwasa in P11 remains the provisional leader. Sargeant comes onto the radio again:

“Why did you pit me so late?”

Under considerable pressure, the American just needs to keep a cool head and keep doing what he’s doing. The last of the soft-to-medium runners complete their pit stops as Drugovich almost runs into the back of Iwasa at the chicane on lap 13. Thus inviting Lawson to close up the gap behind.

Marcus Armstrong, currently P2 on the alternate strategy, receives a black-and-white flag for track limits. If he does it again, he’ll get a penalty.

Mid-race

By lap 16, Sargeant has closed up to the falling Nissany. They are P15 and P16 on the road, but much of the field ahead are yet to stop. Correa comes in for his stop and returns to the track in P20. Maloney is ahead in P19.

With 15 of the 33 laps to go, Pourchaire closes up on Hauger. Doohan comes onto the radio to ask where he’d come back out if he were to pit. The field has settled and gaps have started to form.

However, Pourchaire attacks Hauger on lap 19. He takes the position at the chicane, but the Norweigan takes it right back at Turn 9. Just behind, Sargeant is right on the back of Nissany, who is holding him up. Armstrong – still yet to pit from P2 – gets a 5-second time penalty.

With lap 21 comes the start of the hards-to-softs pit stops. Novalak up first, who emerges P19. A mistake by Hauger finally allows Pourchaire through.

Doohan still leads on lap 23, and through tyre management has started to increase the gap to virtual leader Iwasa. How long will he go before putting on the softs?

Every feature race of the F2 era in Abu Dhabi has been won by the driver on pole. Will that change today? 10 laps left.

It’s just Enzo Fittipaldi in P2 and Doohan yet to stop by lap 25. Behind, Iwasa is now back up to P3. Drugovich, Lawson, Pourchaire, Hauger, Nissany and Sargeant follow. So far, so good for the Williams driver-elect.

Late-race

Doohan ends a strong stint, coming in at the end of lap 25. It’s a good stop, or so it seems. He comes back out ahead of Lawson but immediately goes off the track. His front left tyre isn’t attached. A pit stop error and the Australian is out. Heartbreak for him after doing the hard part.

But, one beneficiary of that mistake, is Logan Sargeant. He moves up to P7 on track and is holding steady in P4 in the championship. (Teammate Lawson provisionally taking P3 in the race and in the standings moving him down slightly.)

A Doohan-ordained Virtual Safety Car ends. Lawson questions how the front two have managed to create such a gap to him during the period. With four laps to go, Drugovich is right behind Iwasa and challenging for the win.

Sargeant takes P6 from Nissany with a beautiful move at Turn 9. Lap 30 and Pourchaire has an issue. Sargeant gains another position and with that, it looks like the Teams’ Championship is settled in MP Motorsport’s favour.

The Virtual Safety Car is out again on the penultimate lap. It’s for Olli Caldwell. Both Campos cars are out. The VSC ends on the final lap and allows Drugovich one last opportunity. He fights Iwasa all through the last lap, but the DAMS driver just manages to hold on.

Comfortable, Lawson comes home P3. With that, Carlin jump ART in the Teams’ Championship to finish second. But the day belongs to the winners, MP Motorsport. And, of course, to Logan Sargeant, who ends the race in P5, taking his Super Licence by finishing fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.

The full provisional results, as confirmed by the FIA, are below:

Feature Image Credit: @motorlat on Twitter

 

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