Jehan Daruvala was left frustrated inspite of a podium in race 1 of the seventh round of the FIA F3 Championship, but at the same time won the hearts of thousands around the circuit and around the world. Racing at the 5.793km, historic high speed circuit of Monza, also known as the ‘Temple of Speed’, the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix support event, saw Jehan climb from tenth to second, only to suffer issues denying the Indian a potential race win. Electronics issues disabled Jehan’s DRS, in turn preventing him from gaining top speed on the two vital long straights.
A bizarre qualifying session saw 17 racers, including all three racers in Jehan’s Prema Racing Team, receiving penalties. With only 5 minutes for the session to end and Jehan had set his fastest laptime in Sector 1 and the quickest sector 2 of any racer on the grid. It looked certain that Jehan would have claimed provisional pole, but over ten cars had slowed down in the last sector. Jehan had to abort his lap for the second time, due to numerous cars moving slowly on the racing line. Race control found the situation too dangerous and stopped the session prematurely.
Christian Lundgaard topped the session, while Jehan was in fourth. Officials reviewed the session till late into the night and handed a 10 place penalty to all three racers in Jehan’s team, for being too slow on their out lap. It was unfortunate for them, because they did not impede other racers but infact had suffered themselves. However, with a total 17 racers receiving penalties, Jehan would start the race from tenth.
As the lights went out, Jehan made a good start and overtook Brazilian racer, Piquet. Two cars tangled in front and Jehan moved upto seventh. He soon overtook British Racer Max Fewtrell to climb to sixth. Up ahead the leaders tangled and German racer Zandeli fell down the order. Jehan quickly went passed Lundgaard into fourth and then, the safety car was deployed. It was during the safety car period that Jehan’s radio messages were broadcast, about Jehan being furious that his DRS (Drag Reduction System) was not working. The DRS is crucial in Monza due to the long straights and the inability to use DRS is a severe handicap while fighting a bunch of cars. The failure was not linked to the team in any way and Jehan would just have to work with the disadvantage.
Jehan drove brilliantly once the safety car pulled into the pits. Third place Richard Verschoor was also driving well, but the Indian pulled off a phenomenal move around the outside of the Dutchman, going around the first corner. Jehan managed to make the move stick and then began to pull away, in third.
Jehan had excellent pace, but unfortunately without DRS, he was clearly disadvantaged and unable to challenge the leaders for the race win. He tried to close in as much as possible, but the safety car was deployed a second time due to another crash. The race ended behind the safety car but Marcus Armstrong in second received a penalty, promoting Jehan to second while Russian, Robert Shwartzman won the race.
“The race was a lot of fun, starting P10 and finishing P2 with such a good result for the team. It was very frustrating for me, not having DRS so I couldn’t really battle for the lead, and I really wanted to, I know we had the pace. Second is good but I’m a little upset for not having the opportunity to fight for the win.”
Shwartzman’s victory and Jehan’s second place inpsite of his issues, mean the Russian was able to pull further away from Jehan in the Championship. Jehanremains in second after earning his seventh podium of the season. Jehan will start seventh for Race 2 tomorrow, due to the reverse grid regulations.