Daruvala takes pole for Carlin
Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala took a superb maiden pole position in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, in the first qualifying session of the weekend in Monza. The Sahara Force India Academy driver set the quickest lap in only his second weekend in the series, edging out team mate and McLaren-Honda junior Lando Norris to make it an all-rookie front row. Jake Dennis emphasised the speed of the Carlin machine to qualify next in third, with Ferdinand Habsburg completing a strong session for the team in fifth.
This afternoon’s qualifying session got off to something of a slow start for the Carlin drivers, although Dennis was the first to head towards the top of the timing screens. As the field of drivers shuffled for track position to get an infamous Monza tow, many were yet to put together a solid flying lap. The qualifying session came to a temporary halt after an incident for Harrison Newey.
When the session got underway again, the Carlin quartet quickly set about improving positions. In a flurry of activity, Norris went P2, just 0.095s off Joey Ericsson. Norris’ team mates were also on the move, all four were quickly in the top six, with Dennis taking P2. The drivers had one more lap to improve and it was Daruvala who found the most time, the rookie taking provisional pole. Norris was close behind, just 0.030s behind his team mate, with Dennis only a further 0.067 behind him. With three Carlin runners in the top three, Habsburg also put in a fantastic effort in fifth.
“This is my first pole positon in F3, so big thanks to the team; I think we looked competitive all weekend. It was quite a stressful qualifying session; there was only seven minutes left at the end to put in a competitive time, but the car felt good and I had a good position behind Ferdinand, with tows being so important in Monza. It’s a great result for us a as team and I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow”, poleman Daruvala said.
Norris said, “In Q1 we’re qualifying for just one race, as opposed to Q2, so you can risk a bit more to get the perfect lap in. Tows obviously play a big part in qualifying here, so it was hard to know what was going to happen. Everyone wants one, so it can be a bit of a fight on track for position; you can go out with a good plan, but it very rarely works. After the red flag I was still 13th and we only had seven minutes to make it work. On my first two flying laps after the flag I don’t think I could have made any more mistakes! I had a good position for my final lap. Second is ok, but the racing will be tough. Slipstreaming plays a big part in the races here, tomorrow will be a whole different story.”
Dennis added, “It wasn’t all plain sailing out there today. The first half of the session I think we made it quite stressful for the engineers! We knew we had work to do after the red flag had disrupted the session. We had three laps to do it in so it was a case of making sure to get a good track position and good tow and make no mistakes. We all managed that and got 1-2-3-5 which is great to have all cars in the top 5. The car improved a lot from practice this morning as well and it was good to get the dry running in today. The team did a great job.”
On his competitive fifth place qualifying result, Habsburg said, “Carlin definitely had the best car today; I think we knew we were going to be strong here. It was stressful as we made a bold call halfway through to pit and find a nice gap, but then I had a red flag directly after I left the pit lane which made it questionable whether I could still get a good result. But the car was handling well and the tyres came in nicely and I’m pleased I got on the limit so quickly after the red flag. I’m looking forward to racing tomorrow, with all my team mates at the front, we’ll be fighting for the podium positions.”