The iconic Grand Prix Circuit of Monza was witness to yet to another historic moment as Jehan Daruvala became the first ever Indian to take pole in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. The 18-year-old racer had a thrilling qualifying session for Round 2 of the championship. Formula 3 is considered to be one of the toughest junior racing category, but is known to produce legends in F1. The incredible feat comes over 16 years after Narain Karthikeyan was on pole in Macau after completing the erstwhile British F3 Championship.
Racing for team Carlin Motorsport, Jehan managed take pole in just his second race weekend at the 5.79 km Monza circuit. The F1 circuit has average speeds at nearly 200 kmph, and the top speed is 255 kmph. While British racer Callum Illot was on top of the time sheet at the chequered flag, Jehan was yet to complete his flying lap, and put in a near perfect run with a lap time of 1:44.105 seconds taking pole position. The Indian driver was a mere three hundredths of a second (0.030s) ahead of his Carlin teammate Lando Norris.
The FIA F3 championship is no child’s play and that can gauged from the fact that the top 3 racers were within a tenth of a second. On the other hand, the top six were within less than half a second of each other. The FIA F3 also featured two practice sessions before qualifying, and Jehan was surging there as well finishing fifth and third respectively.
It was also a good day for Carlin Motorsport as the team managed to claim positions 1-2-3 and 5 on the grid.
Jehan will start first in Race 1 in Round 2 of FIA F3
Speaking on his maiden pole in the championship, an elated Jehan said, “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.”
The FIA Formula 3 is considered one of the most crucial steps enroute to Formula 1. The junior racing category has created some of the finest drivers we’ve seen in F1 including legends Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton among others. More recently, it has been Max Verstappen that has been one of the more successful crossovers from F3 to F1.
This is Jehan’s rookie year in F3 and Round 1 at Silverstone established the Indian driver’s dominant position with two rookie podiums. For the final races tomorrow, Jehan will start on pole for race 1, while an additional qualifying session after race 1 will decide the grid for races 2 and 3.
Jehan also remains the only Indian to have ever stood on the podium of any FIA World Championship when he finished second runner up in the World Karting Championship. The first ever pole in F3 only adds to his booming career.