Pune: The race track notoriously known as ‘Green Hell’ once upon a time, was the host for Round 8 of the 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
Force India F1 team prodigy Jehan Daruvala put up a strong performance to finish in points in all three races of the weekend; including a strong charge from tenth place to 5th position in the final race of the weekend.
FIA Formula 3 is the toughest junior racing category in the world, having produced some of the best racing talents ever known including Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
The 5.148 km long GP Strecke saw a full grid of 22 drivers battle it out for top honours in unpredictable conditions.
Intermittent rain and sunshine made all sessions extremely tricky in terms of tyre choice and setup.
However, the 18-year old from Mumbai showed immense skill and maturity to stay out of trouble throughout and his meteoric consistency ensured that he finished in points paying positions in all three races with a best finish of 5th in an incident-filled race three.
Daruvala had qualified 10th for the final race of the weekend. As the lights went out, the Mumbai youngster got off the line well, and kept out of trouble as drivers clashed and clattered around him.
Going into the extremely downhill turn one, he stuck to the inside while Ferdinand Habsburg and Guanyu Zhou came together and retired instantly.
Jehan’s composed driving
With chaos reigning all around him, Jehan kept his head down picking off his opponents one at a time. Shortly thereafter, the safety car was deployed and by then Jehan was already in a strong sixth place.
As the field circulated behind the safety car for a few laps, attempting to keep their tyres and brakes warm for the restart, it was clear that the bunched up field would result in more overtaking opportunities as drivers prepared to go racing once again. Jehan ensured that he placed his car perfectly behind Japanese driver Makino Sato in fifth place; and got the move completed almost as soon as the race went green.
The top five group including Jehan proceeded to break away from the rest of the pack and Jehan was embroiled in a close dual with Callum Illot but the Briton mount up a staunch defense. As the race progressed, a yawing 10second gap separated Jehan from the sixth place finisher by the time he crossed the chequered flag.