It all came down to today: 24 rounds, 9 tracks, 1 champion… and it only took to the first corner of race one to decide it!
First, there was the small matter of qualifying and the conditions were very tricky; very wet with lots of standing water. It was just as tricky for the F3 desk who had forgotten our coat and only had a Kimoa hat to protect us from the elements. At least Alonso has achieved something this year….
70 shiny notes later – and sporting a lovely Silverstone waterproof – it was business as usual as championship leader Lundqvist took pole just edging out Billy Monger and Tom Gamble.
Lannan’s Kush Maini was the early pacesetter, before a stunning lap from Monger took the Carlin driver to the top of the sheet and dreams of a repeat of Donnington. However, Lundqvist took top spot almost immediately after and despite trading it with Gamble and Monger, held on to it.
Monger had one last throw of the dice with what looked to be a pole stealing lap with 5 minutes remaining, but traffic in the final stages of his lap cost him dear and Lundqvist remained on top.
Further improvements from all three drivers ensured it was the Double R driver who took the front row, 0.387 seconds clear of Monger and Gamble. Fellow Scandinavian and championship challenger Kjaergaard salvaged a fourth place at the closing stages. Struggling with an injured hand after being hit by an F3 cup car, the Dane had a mediocre session.
Clement Novalak claimed fifth for Carlin, on his return to the series.
Double R’s Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Fortec’s Hampus Ericsson and Douglas Motorsport’s Jamie Chadwick all saw out the top-10.
A very strong session, Lundqvist’s efforts were only slightly dampened by Kjaergaard’s late charge but the challenge was thrown down.
Speaking about his pole position, Lundqvist said; “It was a pretty tough session and in the wet you never know how it’s going to be. The car felt great, Double R have done a mega job and there’s something about this track that makes me come alive. I’m very happy with this pole, it’s the race where the points will be handed out but we’ve put ourselves in a good position for it. Even around this long circuit, and like we saw at Spa and last time we were around here, it is really tight in this series. I’m expecting a good fight from the guys around me but hopefully I can end up on top. It’s the last round of the championship and I just try and take it race by race but it would be nice to walk away with the title. You can’t really affect what the other people are doing so I am just trying to focus on mine and the team’s performance and so far we’ve done pretty well.””
BRDC British F3 Championship, Silverstone qualifying result:
1. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, 2m13.240s
2. Billy Monger, Carlin, +0.387s
3. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, +0.405s
4. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, +0.488s
5. Clement Novalak, Carlin, +0.638s
6. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +0.651s
7. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.099s
8. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, +1.107s
9. Hampus Ericsson, Fortec Motorsports, +1.211s
10. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, +1.399s
11. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, +1.761s
12. Jusuf Owega, Hillspeed, +1.902s
13. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +2.357s
14. Pavan Ravishankar, Double R Racing, +2.420s
15. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, +2.768s
16. Arvin Esmaeili, Douglas Motorsport, +3.071s
17. Ben Hurst, Hillspeed, +4.719s
18. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, +4.965s
With the sun finally coming out and the British F3 desk now left with a recently purchased waterproof they don’t need, race one got underway and clearly the powers to be decided those of us in the press covering the event needed an early night as championship challenger Kjaergaard retired on the first lap leaving Lundqvist to calmly lead from start to finish and become the British F3 champion for 2018.
Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist is the 2018 BRDC British F3 Champion, after storming to his seventh victory of the season at Silverstone this afternoon (Saturday).
Second place went to Gamble and Monger took third, both having cracking drives.
Lundqvist made a good get away to lead to the first corner, behind him Gamble jumped Monger off the line. Gamble was all over the back of Lundqvist down to the Becketts complex, but the Swedish ace was able to hold him off. As we entered the final stages of the lap the title battle was decided with Kjaergaard leaving the track at Farm and unable to rejoin.
Only needing to finish on the podium to take the crown, Lundqvist proceeded to pull away from Gamble. He held a lead of 1.3 seconds at the end of lap one, and was two seconds clear at the end of lap two. The Double R driver set fastest lap after fastest lap and settled in to take his seventh, and most important win of the year, taking the crown with two races in his pocket. Lundqvist holds an 85 point lead with just 72 now available this weekend.
Behind, Gamble took a second, after a great start reigniting his chances of taking a top-three finish in the championship, while Monger took his fourth podium of the year. It was a hard battle for the Carlin driver though, as he fell from second on the grid to fourth on the first lap behind Maldonado. Monger fought his way back up, trading blows with the Columbian driver but it was Monger who eventually took it by just over half a second.
Simmons finished in fifth having had a quite race coming up from seventh on the grid, and continuing to impress in British F3.
Double R’s Mahadik took sixth, and now faces a fight for third in the championship, being three points behind Maini, who finished 11th in the race, and eight points clear of Gamble.
Owega in seventh was just 0.236 seconds behind Mahadik come the end, a great climb from 12th on the grid, while Ericsson soaked up pressure from a string of cars, Chadwick, Chaimongkol, Maini, and Sun Yue Yang right up the younger brother of Sauber’s Marcus’ gearbox.
Lundqvist though probably couldn’t care less as his name now joins the likes of Jackie Stewart, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Daniel Ricciardo as a British F3 Champion, and delivering Double R’s second BRDC British F3 title in three years.
Surely an F1 name in the making..
On winning the championship, Lundqvist said; “It’s an unbelievable feeling. It’s just been an incredible year and I just want to start off by thanking my team, Double R Racing. They have been incredible all year and it’s been a ride since day one, considering when you look back all the way to round one at Oulton Park, it’s been a rollercoaster and I can’t believe I’m standing here saying I’m champion. It’s unbelievable, I’m just so happy and pretty emotional.I think Tom made a better start than I did and he had a bit of a run with the slipstream going into Maggots, but I put my head down knowing I had the corner and the next one. I just tried to push as hard as I could and we built ourselves a lead after lap one, and tried to push as hard as I could from there. Obviously it was enough. I didn’t know Nicolai had gone off until I came into the pits, and it was only when I pulled up in front of the team when I put one and one together and realised I had done it.”
BRDC British F3 Championship, Silverstone race one result:
1. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, 10 laps
2. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, +3.097s
3. Billy Monger, Carlin, +6.200s
4. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +6.793s
5. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +9.305s
6. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, +13.021s
7. Jusuf Owega, Hillspeed, +13.257s
8. Hampus Ericsson, Fortec Motorsports, +16.928s
9. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, +17.878s
10. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +18.700s
11. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, +18.956s
12. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, +19.289s
13. Clement Novalak, Carlin, +22.510s
14. Arvin Esmaeili, Douglas Motorsport, +28.730s
15. Ben Hurst, Hillspeed, +35.592s
16. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, +36.436s
DNF. Pavan Ravishankar, Double R Racing, +4 laps
DNF. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, 0 laps
Despite the championship being settled at the earliest opportunity, there are still two races to come tomorrow (Sunday 14th) with the Sunoco Whelen Challenge still up for grabs and with the a chance to take part in the 24 Hours at Daytona in 2019.
As always, Overtake will be track-side to bring you all the action…