Jehan Daruvala has captured the triple crown in Spa, with pole, fastest lap and victory in race one at the Belgian round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship
fter a tense qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps that saw Jehan Daruvala in fifth place with minutes to go before the end of the session, he began setting quick laps, improving to second and eventually snatching pole by 0.1 of a second on his third attempt with a lap-time of 2:12.983, ahead of New Zealander Marcus Armstrong and Spaniard Alex Palou.
As the lights went out, his car was bogged down and by the first corner, Daruvala was down to third. He found his advantage at Eau Rouge as the leading duo accelerated out, slip-streaming his way into second. An incident further down the order then brought out the Safety Car for two laps.
When racing resumed, it was still Palou ahead of Daruvala, with no real threat from the rest of the pack. It was Eau Rouge yet again where the Indian driver piled on the pace around the outside and took the lead of the race. Upping his pace was paramount to create some space, which Daruvala managed by opening up the gap to 0.6 of a second. He was then consistently over two-tenths a lap quicker over the rest. Palou, too, in second, tried hard to catch the race leader, comfortably clear of the rest. However, Jehan wasn’t done yet. He pulled more fastest laps out of the bag and was comfortable ahead of Palou. Easing off towards the end, Daruvala took the chequered flag for race one 3.2 seconds ahead of Palou and a massive 11.9 seconds of Estonian Ralf Aron, who crossed the line third.
Jehan Daruvala became the first Indian to win in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. It was also his fourth podium finish this season in the series. With pole position and fastest lap to go with his race victory in race one at the legendary SpaFrancorchamps circuit, it was indeed a huge feather in the cap for the India racing driver.
After the race, Jehan Daruvala said, ‘The start was not ideal, but I kept my cool as I knew we were quick. Once I was ahead, I just had to make sure I made no mistakes. A lot of credit goes to the team for all the effort that they have put in.’
Jehan started in 12th and fourth for races two and three respectively later that weekend. He finished race two in third place, behind race winner Daniel Ticktum, who took his maiden podium finish, and Fabio Scherer. Race three saw another maiden winner: none other than Mick Schumacher, who took his first victory at the very track his legendary father did. He crossed the line ahead of Robert Shvartzman and Marcus Armstrong. Jehan was leading the chasing pack in fourth place before losing out to Juri Vips and finishing lower down the order.
Jehan Daruvala becomes the first Indian to win an FIA F3 European Championship race