Junior Formulae

Caroline leads F4 championship after round 1

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Carlin’s Jamie Caroline leads the British Formula 4 championship after the first weekend of the 2017 season. The Pirtek sponsored driver took two race wins of three races, with Arden’s Ayrton Simmons also taking a win.

Race one and three of the weekend, Caroline led from start to finish, coming under little pressure from the rest of the field as he built up a gap in the early parts of the race. Though the teenager wasn’t the fastest car as the field neared the chequered flag, he had little defending to do and cruised to victory in both races.

That isn’t to say Caroline had a totally stress free weekend. The reverse grid race two saw him start the seventh. Caroline pulled off multiple spectacular moves but became stuck in fifth. The race winner was forced to defend against three drivers trying to sneak their way past, and fell away from the driver ahead. He eventually finished the race fifth.

Simmons was the only other driver to take a win. Starting on pole in the reverse grid race, the Arden driver controlled the race and slowly built up a gap that saw him take his first ever win in cars by nearly five seconds.

The other two races weren’t great for Simmons though. The 15 year old had a relatively disappointing qualifying and wasn’t able to make up positions in the first race. Race three was slightly better, but he could still only finish fifth.

Alex Quinn will leave Brands Hatch happy with two podium finishes. The Arden driver has only been confirmed for selected rounds, so Quinn’s main focus is showing possible sponsors just what he can do, in the hopes of being able to secure a deal for the rest of the season. Starting in third for the first race, Quinn managed to get up into second early in the race, and came close to challenging Caroline. He was the faster man later in the race, but wasn’t quite close enough to mount a challenge.

Race three was almost a repeat, though this time he couldn’t quite manage to get past Piastri off of the line. Despite setting fastest lap after fastest lap and a daring move around the outside late in the race, Quinn couldn’t find a way past Piastri, and had to settle for third.

Of the three drivers competing in the Challenge Cup, Billy Monger was the most successful. The JHR Developments driver finished the best of the Challenge Cup competitors in all three races, even taking an overall race podium with his third place finish in the second race of the weekend.

One driver that won’t be happy with his weekend will be Linus Lundqvist. The Swedish driver was promising in practice and qualified fourth for the first race, but the luck ran out as soon as the racing began. Lundqvist retired from all three races, but there’s plenty of time for him to make up for that later in the season.

Caroline leads the championship by 19 points leaving Brands Hatch, with Piastri and Simmons in joint second. The second round of the season takes place at Donington Park on the 15th and 16th of April.

Feature image credit: Caroline Rhea

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