British F3 sizzled in the Sunday sunshine as the morning session saw history made and the afternoon saw the championship blown wide open!
Back for another Brands Hatch’s Full English, the F3 desk set about getting down to business for day two of the BRDC British F3 championship. Day one was a cracker with Carlin’s Jamie Caroline taking all the honours with a pole and a race win, and today was looking to be up there with it. And boy was it…!
The morning session saw Douglas Motorsport’s Jamie Chadwick become the first woman to win a British F3 race, after taking victory in the second race at Brands Hatch.
The 2015 British GT4 Champion finished second on track behind Double R Racing’s Pavan Ravishankar. The Singaporean climbed from third to first at the start, but was quickly adjudged to have made a false start and was handed a 10 second time penalty. Krishnaraaj Mahadik soared from ninth on the grid to claim second, with Kush Maini taking the final spot with a great effort from 10th.
Sasakorn Chaimongkol was fourth for Hillspeed, ahead of the other Douglas Motorsport of Arvin Esmaeili, who looked like a possible podium could have come early on before being passed after a small safety car period.
The Fotecs of Manuel Maldonado and Tom Gamble came home seventh and eighth, with Carlin’s Nicolai Kjaergaard ninth having started 13th. Ravishankar was classified 10th after picking up his penalty.
The Safety Car rolled out (not for the first time, thanks to some interesting club racing…) at the end of the second lap, with the unlucky Ben Hurst off in the gravel at Clearways, and doing his best to eliminate the comfortable gap the lead duo had at the front. Race one winner Jamie Caroline, who had climbed from 15th on the grid to 11th at the end of lap one, also suffered a difficult lap and dropped to the tail of the field.
The safety car pitted at the start of lap seven, with Ravishankar leading them across the line with Chadwick following closely about half a second behind Ravishankar The win was looking comfortable, but Mahadik was charging and eventually finished just 0.439 seconds behind at the chequered flag, with Maini only a further 0.288 seconds behind.
Mahadik’s race was well worth a mention: Having gained two places on lap one, another place on lap two, and then picking up where he left off after the safety car, he took fourth on lap seven before finally passing a now-struggling Esmaeili.
Further back, the championship rivals were battling it out as Nicolai Kjaergaard trimmed Linus Lundqvist’s championship lead by finishing ninth and gaining four places, while a subdued Lundqvist took a three place gain to take 11th. Race one winner Caroline pitted and retired on lap eight.
On her historic win, Chadwick had this to say; “I knew Pavan would get a penalty for the start, I was hoping he would get a drive-through so I could just get my head down but I knew he was getting the penalty so I just sat behind him. I’ve had much harder races for lower positions so it was nice to have that one a little bit easier and to get that first win.”
“It’s really hard to pass around here so I knew if I had track position, which I got on the first lap, my race wouldn’t be too bad. Fortunately starting a bit further up helped me out a bit. I’m absolutely delighted and a big thanks to the Douglas Motorsport team for making this happen.”
BRDC British F3 Championship, Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, race two result:
1. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, 13 laps
2. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, +0.439s
3. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, +0.727s
4. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +4.001s
5. Arvin Esmaeili, Douglas Motorsport, +7.828s
6. Jusuf Owega, Hillspeed, +7.890s
7. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +8.408s
8. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, +8.608s
9. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, +8.765s
10. Pavan Ravishankar, Double R Racing, +8.949s
11. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, +10.227s
12. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, +10.951s
13. Billy Monger, Carlin, +14.807s
14. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, +28.665s
DNF. Jamie Caroline, Carlin, +5 laps
DNF. Ben Hurst, Hillspeed, +12 laps.
With the British GT race coming to an end, there was still the important (more important..) matter of race three, the final race of the weekend’s F3 action.
As the heat showed no sign of letting up, neither did the action on track as Kjaergaard returned to the top step of the podium with a solid victory in the final race of the weekend, cutting championship leader Lundqvist’s lead and showing us the championship is far from over!
Before that, Overtake grabbed a quick word with the championship leader Lundqvist. When asked how he felt his performance had been over the weekend, he simply said, “Alright”.
“When we started off yesterday with the free practice we were very comfortable, you know? I was very happy with the car and my driving. I love the circuit, it’s a great circuit to drive in these F3 cars”, the Double R driver went on to say. “Coming into qualifying, I think maybe we were a bit too comfortable, to be honest. I didn’t put my lap together and maybe a bit of strategy could have been better. But all-in-all we qualified fourth. It was super close: I think, a tenth behind.”
Looking back at race one, the championship leader was pleased with his start describing it as one of his best starts of the season going from fourth to second. “Considering we started on old tyres and all of the Carlin guys [were] on new [tyres], I think we did a cracking effort really. I had the fastest lap until Kjaergaard got it, but yeah, very happy with that race and extended the lead.” [sic]
With race three almost upon us, we asked Lundqvist about his strategy going into the race. “To get a good start!” He replied. When I said that was exactly what Kjaergaard had said for race one, Lundqvist replied, “Great minds thinks alike!” Showing not only that there is nothing between the guys’ performance on the track, but nothing in terms of approach and mindset!
When asked about the championship and whether the driver from Tyresö had his eye on it yet, Lundqvist replied, “Obviously I think about the championship, but all-in-all, I don’t want to back off because of it. I race because I love winning especially when you have the chance [to win]”.
Back to the on-track action and claiming his first victory since the Snetterton round, Kjaergaard finished ahead of the ever-present team mate Jamie Caroline who shadowed him throughout. Championship leader Lundqvist claimed third, his second podium of the weekend. This weekend is the first time the Swedish ace has not taken a race win this year.
Brit Gamble secured his best result of the event with fourth, holding off a spirited challenge from Carlin’s Monger who took fifth. Maini settled for seventh ahead of Maldonado, who was kept busy holding off Mahadik, Owega and Chaimongkol.
At the start, Kjaergaard made a solid getaway to hold the lead from his pole position, while Caroline took advantage of a slow Lundqvist to take second place on the run to Paddock Hill Bend.
The Danish driver built a margin of half a second over Caroline on the first lap, and then looked comfortable as he chased his first win since the end of May. Team mate Caroline kept him under pressure, but Kjaergaard was cool under pressure.
Lundqvist threaten to make it a three way fight at the front, but the Swede didn’t quite have the pace to keep up the fight, third place still enough to keep an impressive margin at the top of the leader board.
In my report from day two at Spa last time out, I felt Kjaergaard’s challenge for the title might be over, but after today’s win I feel that might have been a bit harsh, as the Carlin driver can still pull it out the bag with performances like that.
On his important win Kjaergaard had this to say; “Jamie [Caroline] was always close to me, especially at the start of the race when he didn’t let me go even though I was pushing quite hard. In the end he wasn’t quite fast enough to challenge for the lead so I was really happy about that… Carlin have given me and my team mates a fantastic car this weekend, we’ve been really fast and it’s been a great weekend.”
“I may have been able to push a bit more if Jamie challenged, but it is hard to say. The tyres weren’t as good as they had been when they were new at the start of the weekend, but I think I would have had him covered anyway.”
BRDC British F3 Championship, Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, race three result:
1. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, 14 laps
2. Jamie Caroline, Carlin, +0.414s
3. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, +2.088s
4. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, +5.600s
5. Billy Monger, Carlin, +6.195s
6. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, +7.106s
7. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +17.707s
8. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, +17.731s
9. Jusuf Owega, Hillspeed, +18.215s
10. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +18.424s
11. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, +32.316s
12. Ben Hurst, Hillspeed, +33.435s
13. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, +41.689s
14. Pavan Ravishankar, Double R Racing, +42.075s
15. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, +45.144s
DNF. Arvin Esmaeili, Douglas Motorsport, +1 lap
Rounds 19, 20 and 21 see the teams battling it out at Donnington Park and – as always – Overtake will be right in amongst it bringing you all the action…