Jehan Daruvala becomes first Indian on pole in FIA F3 European C’ship

Daruvala’s rookie year in F3 got off to a solid start in the previous weekend at Silverstone where the multiple Indian and Asian Karting champion earned himself two rookie podiums.

Driving for Carlin, Jehan Daruvala topped the qualifying session for race one, with a time of 1minute 44.105 seconds, just 0.030 seconds ahead of team-mate and McLaren F1 junior Lando Norris, and Jake Dennis.   -  Special arrangement

Sahara Force India academy driver Jehan Daruvala took his maiden pole position in the FIA European F3 championship at Monza here on Friday and created history by becoming the first Indian racer to do so.

Driving for Carlin, the 18-year old racer from Mumbai, topped the qualifying session for race one, with a time of 1minute 44.105 seconds, just 0.030 seconds ahead of team-mate and McLaren F1 junior Lando Norris, and Jake Dennis.

Daruvala’s rookie year in F3 got off to a solid start in the previous weekend at Silverstone where the multiple Indian and Asian Karting champion earned himself two rookie podiums. Daruvala bagged 13 points from three races and lies eighth in the championship.

He will start on pole for race one while an additional qualifying session after it will decide the grid for races two and three.

The 18-year-old Indian’s feat came over 16 years after Narain Karthikeyan was on pole in Macau while competing in the erstwhile British F3 Championship.

The thrilling qualifying session for Round 2 of the Championship at the Grand Prix Circuit of Monza saw British racer Callum Illot on top of the time sheet as the chequered flag fell.

Daruvala was still out on track and yet to complete his flying lap around the 5.793km iconic Formula 1 circuit where average speeds are near the 200km/hr mark and top speed at 255 km/hr.

The ultra high competitiveness of the series can be gauged from the fact that the top 3 racers were within a tenth of a second and the top six within less than half a second.

Earlier in the weekend, Daruvala showed his pace on a track that he certainly seemed to love. He was sixth and third in the two practice sessions of the weekend.

“I like this track a lot. This is where I had my first pole in Formula Renault. The car felt good and we made a few changes after practice which worked well. Importantly I got a good slipstream and also ensured that I took no risks, once I saw I had a good time on my last lap,” said Daruvala.

Formula 3 is considered one of the most crucial steps en route to Formula 1. Numerous racers have moved from F3 to F1 directly with Max Verstappen being the most recent notable example.

F1 world champions like Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and many more proved their capabilities in F3 before moving on to F1.

(With inputs from PTI)