Championship leader Linus Lundqvist did his challenge no harm as he qualified P1 and lead from start to finish in race one of the BRDC British F3 Championship at Silverstone
An early start for the British F3 desk as we arrived bleary-eyed to a cloudy yet warm Silverstone for rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the BRDC British F3 championship. Perfect race conditions greeted us as we stocked up on coffee and crisps, and set about with the important task of qualifying and then race one.
All eyes were on Double R Racing’s Lundqvist who tested well yesterday (8th) and performed well in the last rounds at Snetterton. Lurking at the top of the time sheet for most of the session, the Swede eventually secured pole position with a 1.56.692, just 0.051 seconds ahead of Lanan Racing’s Kush Maini.
Kush Maini was top of the time sheet for most of the session but Lundqvist pounced with less than five minutes remaining. P2 was Mani’s best qualifying performance so far.
Late efforts from Carlin’s Clement Novalak and Douglas Motorsport’s Jordan Cane saw Novalak in P3, just 0.040 seconds ahead of fellow Brit Jordan Cane in P4.
Carlin’s Billy Monger secured fifth, just 0.013 seconds behind Cane, equalling his best qualifying result so far. Jamie Chadwick was 0.017 seconds behind in sixth in the other Douglas Motorsport car.
Championship challenger Nicolai Kjaergaard was seventh, and will be hoping for a great start in race one to continue to put the pressure on fellow Scandinavian Lundqvist. The Dane of course shines in race two when overtaking is key, so there is still very much all to play for… A late effort from Hillspeed’s German driver Jusuf Owega put him eighth on the grid, and Pavan Ravishankar took his best grid position of the year with ninth.
Arguably a bad morning for Fortec, Tom Gamble saw out the top-10 which was separated by just 0.687 seconds on the second longest circuit of the year.
When asked about his pole, Lundqvist said; “It feels great, it’s my first qualifying pole position of the year and I’m super excited and really happy. Silverstone is clearly one of my best circuits of the year so far and the car has been mega right from the start of testing. The guys at Double R have done a mega job, but it’s the race where the points are handed out so we will try and do our best there.”
BRDC British F3 Championship, Silverstone qualifying result:
1. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, 1m56.692s
2. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, +0.051s
3. Clement Novalak, Carlin, +0.171s
4. Jordan Cane, Douglas Motorsport, +0.211s
5. Billy Monger, Carlin, +0.224s
6. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, +0.241s
7. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, +0.247s
8. Jusuf Owega, Hillspeed, +0.389s
9. Pavan Ravishankar, Double R Racing, +0.430s
10. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, +0.687s
11. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +0.694s
12. Tristan Charpentier, Fortec Motorsports, +0.755s
13. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, +0.831s
14. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +1.151s
15. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, +1.222s
16. Arvin Esmaeili, Douglas Motorsport, +1.339s
17. Ben Hurst, Hillspeed, +2.706s
On to race one and Lundqvist lead from start to finish. Fending off a spirited challenge from Mani to take the win for race one, he set up another dominating weekend for Double R.
Maini was just 0.392 seconds behind at the chequered flag, with Cane starting third and taking third for Douglas Motorsport, giving the two race leaders something to think about in the closing stages…
Novalak took fourth for Carlin, whilst Douglas Motorsport’s Chadwick took fifth – gaining one place on her qualifying place. Nicolai Kjaergaard was sixth for Carlin having struggled for pace since testing on Friday. Owega claimed seventh for Hillspeed after putting pressure on Monger and securing a late move on the teenager. Mahadik and Britsh Gamble saw out the top-10.
The top two both made good starts to lead into Copse on the first lap, with a lightning start from Cane who got off the line well to claim third from Novalak. Further down the grid, Kjaergaard was making amends for his seventh place qualifying and passed team mate Monger for sixth place. Meanwhile, Mahadik was a man possessed and rose from 15th to 10th by the end of the first lap.
Lundqvist was opening up a handy gap by the start of lap two but, not to be outdone, Maini was just fractions quicker and quickly brought the margin down to just under half a second by lap seven. A little shout-out to Maini who set a new BRDC British F3 lap record around the resurfaced Silverstone. It’s not just those F1 cars that can tumble lap times!
By lap eight, Maini was close enough to Lundqvist to attempt a move… Sitting in the slipstream down the Wellington straight, he was close enough to challenge at Brooklands. Although alongside one another, Maini took the outside line at Luffield, but Lundqvist held him off across the line with the pair sitting in each other’s pockets. A tense battle on lap nine almost brought Cane into contention, but Lundqvist regained composure and started to eke out a lead.
Lundqvist’s margin was almost half a second by the last lap, and he held off Maini to win by just under four tenths, and increase his championship lead to 48 points. Second place from Maini sees the Indian driver putting pressure on Kjaergaard.
Lundqvist has this to say after his race one win; “It was extremely tough, Kush was especially quick from the middle of the race and particularly at the end. I have to say a big thanks to my team, the guys at Double R have done a great job so far this weekend, the car has been mega all the way through. “I kept pushing away, trying to do my job and converted the pole into a win, it’s the best way possible to start the weekend.”
“I saw Kush had a try and we were side by side for a few corners. The track is wide and in tomorrow’s race it should offer some overtaking possibilities for me. I’m going to be with all the quick guys at the back in race two, so it will be tough but I’m looking forward to it.”
BRDC British F3 Championship, Silverstone race one result:
1. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, 10 laps
2. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, +0.392s
3. Jordan Cane, Douglas Motorsport, +1.133s
4. Clement Novalak, Carlin, +3.617s
5. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, +4.675s
6. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, +5.882s
7. Jusuf Owega, Hillspeed, +11.091s
8. Billy Monger, Carlin, +13.121s
9. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, +17.121s
10. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, +17.850s
11. Tristan Charpentier, Fortec Motorsports, +18.566s
12. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +19.005s
13. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, +19.452s
14. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +21.073s
15. Arvin Esmaeili, Douglas Motorsport, +22.277s
16. Ben Hurst, Hillspeed, +32.180s
17. Pavan Ravishankar, Double R Racing, +1 lap
After the race Overtake grabbed a quick word with championship challenger Nicolai Kjaergaard, who was disappointed but philosophical about today’s performance. “Obviously qualifying was a disappointment, yesterday [testing] was a disappointment”, said the Danish teenager, who started P7 and finished P6. “We still haven’t found the pace properly for me and the car. Whether it’s me that needs to change something or we need to find something with the car, we need to figure out now for tomorrow. Hopefully we will have some more speed in the car.”
Looking at tomorrow’s reverse grid race, there are points to be won and the Danish ace has proved to be a bit of an overtaking whizz in the previous rounds. “I want to make as many points as possible. I’m not really looking at the championship at the moment, I’ll be doing that after the weekend, but right now [I’m] just focused on trying to get the speed. I know I can race, the whole team knows that, so if we get the speed I’m sure there is no reason why we won’t be on it tomorrow.” Kjaergaard went on to say, “We just need to figure out what we are going to do to get that speed.”
With some hard work to be done, the Dane will be hoping the team find the speed they need for tomorrow.
Race two gets underway at 11:40am and Overtake will be there to bring you all the action.