Indian Racing Star, Jehan Daruvala created history by becoming the first ever Indian on pole in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. The 18-year old’s feat comes over 16 years after Narain Karthikeyan was on pole in Macau after completing 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. Jehan was still out on the 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 is 255 km/hr! Jehan put in a near perfect lap to claim his maiden pole position in F3 in only his second event! Jehan’s lap time of 1:44.105s was a mere three-hundredths of a second ahead of his Carlin team-mate – Lando Norris.
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! Formula 3 is considered one of the most crucial steps en route to Formula 1 with numerous racers moving from F3 to F1 directly with Max Verstappen being the most recent notable example. Numerous F1 World Champions like Lewis Hamilton, Sebastein Vettel, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and much more, proved their capabilities in F3 before moving on to F1.
Earlier in the weekend, Jehan showed his pace on a track that he certainly seems to love. He was sixth and third in the 2 practice sessions of the weekend. Jehan will start on pole (first) for race 1 whereas an additional qualifying session after race 1 will decide the grid for races 2 and 3.
“I like this track a lot. This is where I had my first pole in the 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 the elated Sahara Force India Academy racer.
Jehan’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. Jehan continues to put India on the world motorsport map after he became the first Indian to win a Grand Prix. He achieved this feat winning the season finale of the Toyota Racing Season. Jehan remains the only Indian to have ever stood on the podium of any FIA World Championship when he finished 2nd runner-up in the World Karting Championship.