Jehan Daruvala went on to claim P2 in the first race of Round 3, while the third race saw the driver claim victory, catapulting the driver to second place in the drivers’ standings. Here’s how Round 3 unfolded over the weekend.
Mumbai Falcons and Jehan Daruvala continued to dominate the 2021 Formula 3 Asian Championship as the driver went on to claim a podium finish and a victory in Round 3. The third round was held back-to-back after Round 2 at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi and the strong performance from both drivers by the only Indian team on the grid has catapulted Mumbai Falcons to second place in the team standings at the end of the weekend. Jehan is now placed second in the drivers’ standings and has a chance to bag the championship title.
Round 3 of F3 Asia started with Jehan bagging pole positions in both qualifying sessions on Saturday. However, an underwhelming start to the first race of the weekend saw him make little use of that advantage. This allowed the second-placed Pierre-Louis Chovet to grab the lead with the Indian driver closely following up with Guanyu Zhou on his tail. Following the opening lap, Chovet started building a sizeable lead over the rest of the grid, which Jehan could not catch up to. But Zhou was breathing down his neck and that made Jehan cautious through the race. The top order remained unchanged for the remainder of the laps and Jehan eventually settled for P2 in Race 1.
Meanwhile, teammate Kush Maini made considerable progress in Race 1 after starting at P11. He overtook two cars on the first corner itself and progressed further to take P8 a couple of corners later. The driver then moved up to P7 but had to settle for P8 at the end of the race.
The grid for Race 2 was based on the fastest lap from Race 1 and saw Jehan start from P6. The driver couldn’t improve his position though and settled for the same, while Chovet took the second win of the weekend. However, Race 2 turned out to be crucial for Kush Maini who carried over his fine form from Saturday. The driver started at P10 and moved up by three places to take P7, right behind his teammate.
Race 3 was the final race of the weekend and saw Jehan back on the pole, based on the second qualifying session on Saturday. The driver was looking to maximise the advantage and had reserved a fresh set of tyres for the last race. A strong start saw Jehan lead into the first corner, followed by Zhou in second and French drivers Chovet and Isack Hadjar placed third and fourth respectively. A quick pass on the opening lap saw Hadjar move up to P3, while Zhou was now pressuring Jehan to claim victory.
The Indian driver was at his defensive best and started building a considerable gap over Zhou over the next couple of laps. The margin though was neutralised following a safety car period. However, Jehan pulled cleanly at the restart and posted a number of fastest laps, ensuring his lead over close rivals Zhou and Hadjar. The top order remained unchanged as Daruvala, Zhou and Hadjar made it to the podium.
Kush Maini closed the weekend on a high as well and moved up two places from P10 soon after the lights turned green. The driver was involved in a close battle with Lorenzo Fluxa, but Maini defended his position to claim P8, bringing crucial points for the team, that moved it up to second in the team standings.
“I was happy with the pace we had in Race 3. I was able to control my pace the way I wanted. It feels good to be back on the top step of the podium. The race in the morning was not ideal. I’m looking forward to relaxing for a few days and then focusing on a good Round 4,” said Jehan.
“As a new team, we are constantly learning and getting better. For the first time in the championship, we have had both our cars in the points in every race. It’s great to be second in the Team’s Standing, and we hope to get even better,” commented Moid Tungekar, CEO of Mumbai Falcons.
The 2021 F3 Asian Championship is now left with two more rounds. Round 4 will take place next weekend at the Dubai Autodrome.
Images Credit: Ishaan Bhataiya/Red Bull Content Pool