On the way to F1 | Youngsters steal the show with extreme braking actions

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On the way to F1 |  Youngsters steal the show with extreme braking actions

‘As far as I’m concerned, Martins was the absolute star of the weekend’

Mark: ‘Despite the limited points score, Victor Martins has again had a good weekend in Formula 2. As an Alpine talent, the Frenchman has competition from the more experienced Jack Doohan. However, Doohan has already completed more than two seasons in the last entry-level class for Formula 1, while Martins is in his debut year. The fact that the pair are involved in a battle for fourth place in the championship looks better for Martins than for Doohan. Martins, who became Formula 3 champion last year, is currently the best rookie in the championship.’

‘Martins qualified well in fifth, and had to start sixth in the sprint race due to the reversed grid. At the start he was pinched by Bearman and Pourchaire, an incident he only survived by paying close attention. He then started a great catch-up race from P7. A phenomenal restart saw him roll over Isack Hadjar and Ralph Boschung in two corners, and a lap later he outbraked Jak Crawford on the outside before the first corner, even before DRS was available. As soon as that was the case, Kush Maini also had to suffer with a deep braking action. Richard Verschoor was outwitted with an even more extreme braking action, after which Vesti remained out of reach, but it was still a beautiful race by Martins.’

‘Martins started the feature race even more impressively. From fifth place he outpaced Hadjar in the first chicane, after which Roman Stanek was defeated in a very strong manner on the outside in the second chicane. This meant he was still behind teammate Pourchaire, and therefore had to wait for his French teammate at the pit stops during a safety car period. Martins therefore lost places to Maini, Verschoor, Crawford and Dennis Hauger. The latter was braked from the outside during the restart, and in the Lesmo corners Crwaford was the new victim, after which a new safety car immediately followed. At the new restart, Verschoor was immediately caught and a lap later he was again in front of Maini, making up the four lost places in no time. Afterwards, Martins’ DRS remained open and he was forced to retire. He didn’t get many points, but as far as I’m concerned, Martins was the absolute star of the weekend.’

Calm Pourchaire takes step towards F2 title

Christian: ‘Whichever way you look at it, Théo Pourchaire fought with one hand behind his back from the moment title competitor Frederik Vesti landed on the grass and lost control of his Prema. Pourchaire, who lost first position to Oliver Bearman on the first lap, knew the Dane would not score any points in Sunday’s feature race and that this was the time for him to coast. So the young Frenchman had a Grand Prix in which he was reasonably careful.’

‘Nevertheless, we saw a wonderful performance from the ART driver. After the second safety car disappeared, Pourchaire launched an attack on Jack Doohan after the first chicane. The blue-pink car was forced to take the outside bend and cut the corner, but to no avail. Two laps later, Pourchaire passed and immediately opened a two-second gap to his opponent.’

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On the way to F1 |  Youngsters steal the show with extreme braking actions
With a lead of 24 points and one weekend to go, Théo Pourchaire appears to be well on his way to the Formula 2 title.

‘With a final restart on lap 26, leader Bearman pulled away from Pourchaire, who had other things on his mind. Red Bull Racing junior Ayumu Iwasa had now found his way to the front and was putting pressure on the man with starting number 5. Once again, Pourchaire knew he had to score points in this race with his title rival on the sidelines. In doing so, he left plenty of room for Iwasa in turn 2. He then managed to keep up with the Japanese, but a late safety car prevented the revenge of Formula 2 championship leader Pourchaire.’

‘With a podium and a fastest race lap, he achieved sixteen points that could be particularly important at the end of the year. In some ways this was one of the most impressive performances from this youngster, as this was a pressure-packed match, with plenty of opposition and plenty of moments where Pourchaire could have wasted a good chunk of points. Pourchaire remained calm, and that is worth a championship.’

Iwasa puts things in order after a disastrous weekend start for DAMS

Lieke: ‘While the Formula 2 title battle was the talk of the town in Monza, Ayumu Iwasa was the lifesaver for the DAMS team after a major setback during qualifying. The red flags threw a spanner in the works for the entire DAMS team, and it started to look like there would soon be nothing left to do at the Temple of Speed. A technical problem for Iwasa seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for DAMS on Saturday, and the chance that there would be more to it than the bad luck they had had so far was small. Ultimately, it’s a good thing that no one at DAMS wanted to throw in the towel early, because during the feature race Iwasa managed to turn the tide with an impressive performance.’

‘After poor qualifying, the Japanese had to start the race from fifteenth, and little changed until Frederik Vesti and Roman Staněk suddenly came to blows at the front of the field. Vesti ended up in the wall, forcing race management to send the safety car onto the track. The young Japanese was still in fifteenth place when the safety car was called onto the track, but due to a fantastic strategic performance by the team, he suddenly found himself in third place before the restart. Like a jack of all trades, he suddenly appeared in the mirrors of Jack Doohan and Jehan Daruvala shortly after the restart, and with a miraculous overtaking action, the Red Bull talent suddenly took over the lead in the race from third position. An overtake like this takes a lot of courage from a driver, but Iwasa made it look easy when he took over the fight for the lead as a smiling third. Ultimately, Iwasa finished the race in second, after only letting Oliver Bearman pass.’

‘The young Japanese will probably no longer be able to play a major role in the championship, as the gap to leader Théo Pourchaire is now 38 points. Yet Iwasa actually shows what he has to offer every weekend, and that was no different in Monza. If the situation allows it, he stands where he should be, and he knows how to convert his talent into fantastic results. It is therefore not without reason that the young Japanese is compared to compatriot Yuki Tsunoda, and with the current performances that Iwasa is able to deliver, there is certainly a chance of a place in the premier class of racing. In Abu Dhabi, Iwasa has the opportunity to end the season with a bang and officially secure third place in the championship, but the young Japanese can undoubtedly look back on a successful second season in Formula 2.’

Bortoleto the deserved champion with a nice on-board radio

Mark: ‘It was already expected that Gabriel Bortoleto would be crowned champion in Monza, and we were no longer surprised. Bortoleto is by far the most consistent factor in the championship, and it is therefore completely justified that he won the championship. He almost always qualified in the top twelve, so he got a good starting position in both races, and he stayed out of trouble more often than his competitors.’

‘In the sprint race, Bortoleto had to start eighth due to the reversed grid. After the early restart, Bortoleto steadily worked his way forward, also taking advantage of mistakes from the competition. After moving up to fifth place, Zak O’Sullivan caused a collision with Grégoire Saucy. Bortoleto passed by and moved up to P3. The Italian responded just like Kimi Räikkönen once did when his team wanted to provide him with advice: ‘Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing!’ That was correct, because in the final phase Mari Boya was also defeated, and Bortoleto finished in second place from P8.’

‘A brilliant start to the feature race resulted in Bortoleto gaining two positions from fifth, partly thanks to a clever braking action on the outside by Mercedes talent Paul Aron. A rare mistake during the safety car restart resulted in the loss of two positions, after which he was pushed into the gravel trap by a colleague and fell back to ninth place. This meant that a top result was lost, although Bortoleto did work his way forward again and finished fifth. All in all, a good final weekend of an impressive season for the champion.’

O’Sullivan ends a solid year with the best overtake of the weekend

Christian: ‘I have actually been charmed by Zak O’Sullivan all year, and in the last F3 weekend of the year he once again showed why. The young Englishman has a lot of speed and has a nose for opportunities, even if they don’t seem to be there at first. In lap 6 of the feature race, the Formula 3 drivers enter the first corner three-man, with O’Sullivan in the Williams-colored car all the way on the inside. Where new champion Gabriele Bortoleto does not keep a cool head and has to take advantage of the run-off, O’Sullivan takes a very tight line, after which he returns to the circuit in third place.’

‘Throughout the rest of the Grand Prix he managed to keep pace with Jonny Edgar and Caio Collet, although he still had to give way to an opportunistic Taylor Barnard at Turn 1 on lap 12. At the second restart (by now two safety cars had been deployed) the Briton was awake, with the top three in front of him in a sprint to the first corner. Once again O’Sullivan daringly chose the inside bend, which gave him not one, but two places – Barnard and Collet were spotted. With perhaps the catch-up action of the match, he scored his last points of the year and that ultimately earned him a well-deserved second place in the championship. We will see more of this junior.’

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