FIA F3 C’ship: Jehan Daruvala moves up to second in title race

The Indian racer finishes third in the sixth round of the championship.

Jehan Daruvala... “Third is not ideal, but it’s not bad.”   -  (File Photo)

Jehan Daruvala, the young Indian racer, settled for a third-place finish in the sixth round of the FIA Formula 3 championship — a support event to the F1 Belgian Grand Prix — on Saturday. The result propelled him to the No. 2 spot in the drivers’ title race.

Starting the race from his maiden pole position in the series, Jehan exited the first corner ahead. But Pedro Piquet, son of three-time F1 champion Nelson Piquet, took advantage of his slipstream to overtake him after Eau Rouge. Jehan continued to lose ground and fell all the way to fourth in the race. Jehan pushed hard and was able to move back into second place, behind Piquet. A virtual safety car was declared and the timing of the call affected Jehan, causing him to lose four seconds. Later, Jehan’s Prema team-mate, Robert Shwartzman, managed to use his DRS (Drag Reduction System) to drive right around Jehan.

The Indian finished behind Shwartzman, while Piquet bagged his maiden win in the FIA F3 championship.

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Race Two starting order is decided on Race One results in reverse order for the top eight. Jehan started sixth and had a good start, quickly moving up to fourth. Two racers in front of him had an incident and one of the cars while re-joining came right in front of him. Jehan had to lift off to avoid a collision; this allowed another racer to overtake him.

Jehan then got back one position and finished eventually in fifth place. New Zealand’s Marcus Armstrong won the race.

“On the first lap of Race One, I bottomed quite a lot through Eau Rouge so Piquet flew by me before Les Combes. I was pretty confident I could stay with him, but the virtual safety car came out at the last chicane and somehow I lost a lot of time. I knew that the guys behind me were going to have DRS and it was going to be tricky. Third is not ideal, but it’s not bad,” said Jehan.

Jehan has moved up to second from third in the championship standings with 129 points, behind team-mate Shwartzman (152). There are still two rounds remaining, and the next race will be held alongside the Italian Grand Prix.