As the Russian Grand Prix Formula One race gets underway in Sochi from Friday, India’s Jehan Daruvala will be going for something no Indian has done before. The Mumbai-born driver has a long shot at the FIA Formula 3 championship though the points difference is huge.
Daruvala is currently second in the championship behind his PREMA Racing teammate Robert Shwartzman of Russia by 33 points. There will be 48 points up for grabs in the two races this weekend but it will take a miracle for the Indian to win it considering both have the same tools at their disposal.
Sportstar caught up with Daruvala in Monza during the Italian GP where he finished second in the race one but failed to score in the second one.
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“Except for the weekend in Budapest, it has been a good season. I was in the top four in qualifying in most rounds which shows I have the speed," said Daruvala.
"I am in the title hunt but I would have like to have been a lot closer. I am averaging 20 points every weekend and had I managed that in Hungary, it would have been a lot closer now.”
Daruvala was leading the standings by two points after the first race of the fourth round of the season in Silverstone, Britain. However in the second race when he was fighting for third in the closing stages of the race, he hit Pedro Piquet and crashed out. In the following weekend in Budapest, traffic during qualifying meant he started 17th on a track where overtaking is virtually impossible and failed to finish in the points with just two points from the second race. Over a three-race period, Daruvala could only get two points which hurt his title bid.
Former national champion Rayomand Banajee, who is Daruvala’s coach and mentor from his karting days, was also in Monza said, “I think it has been a brilliant season. He has proved his pace whenever he went out. It is just unfortunate certain things did not go his way. But he has been consistently quick and not just in one race which is the important thing.”
Banajee added, “The grid is the most competitive in recent times and no Indian has done what he has achieved so far. Whatever has been done was in regional F3. This is the FIA F3 and people here don’t understand the enormity of what he has done.”
With nothing to lose, Daruvala can go flat out in Sochi and end on a high in the final race as he gears up to go one step higher to F2 next year.