European F3: Jehan Daruvala ends maiden season as second in rookie standings
Jehan Daruvala started the final round in the 2017 FIA European Formula 3 Championship at Hockenheim, finishing 13th and 10th in the two practice sessions on Friday.
The Carlin driver upped his pace in Qualifying 1 later in the day to end up fourth, 0a mere 0.2017s behind the pole-sitter Prema’s Callum Ilott. Carlin’s Lando Norris was second and Motopark’s Joel Eriksson third.
The ultra-tight session saw the Top 19 drivers finish within a second of Ilott’s time, as Daruvala was 0.042s off Eriksson and 0.061s ahead of teammate Ferdinand Habsburg in the order.
Qualifying 2 on Friday evening saw Ilott stay on top still, with teammate Maximilian Gunther improving to second while Guanyu Zhou completed a Prema 1-2-3.
Another tight session saw Daruvala finish just 0.614s off Ilott’s time, but the Indian was 11th in the order. For the final race, the Force India protégé dropped to 13th.
Pole for Race 3 went to Gunther, who led another Prema 1-2-3 with Ilott this time second and Zhou remaining third in the order.
The start of the first race on Saturday morning saw Daruvala lose a position to teammate Habsburg, while Eriksson took the lead as Ilott and Norris battled among themselves.
From then on, it was all Eriksson show as the Swede held on to the lead and eventually took his seventh win of the season - his third consecutive one.
Behind, Norris overcame Habsburg to finish second, which was enough to hand him the 2017 overall championship, as title rival Gunther was only 10th on the road.
The Austrian completed the Top 3, with Ilott fending off late pressure from Daruvala to keep fourth - the Indian pressing hard after a mistake from the British driver, but he was unable to find a way past the Prema driver.
A rookie win for Norris also sealed the title for him, as he was able to take an unassailable lead from second-placed Daruvala, with Prema's Mick Schumacher completing the Top 3.
The start to the second race on Saturday afternoon saw Daruvala make up two places in the first few laps after clearing Aron and benefiting from Habsburg's puncture.
The Indian was running in ninth behind fellow Force India driver Nikita Mazepin (HitechGP), while Aron was on the rear of Daruvala.
The Estonian tried hard to pass the Mumbaikar, with Motopark's David Beckmann and Norris also chasing the pack - however, none were able to pass through.
Up front, Ilott fended off the pressure from Gunther to lead a Prema 1-2-3 as Zhou rounded off a solid penultimate race for the Italian outfit, which sealed the teams' title.
Daruvala was ninth, but time penalties to several drivers around him saw the Indian benefit by one place to be eighth, as he took his seventh rookie win of the season.
In a rare sequence, Norris was second best as the newly crowned champion finished outside the points in 11th. Van Amersfoort Racing's Joey Mawson rounded out the Top 3.
Daruvala had a steady start to the final race of the season from 13th, as he made a place to 12th due to Schumacher pitting.
A subsequent off moment on Lap 5 after being hit by Van Amersfoort Racing's Harrison Newey at the back forced the Indian to make a pit stop, the result of which he came out a lap down to the leaders.
He eventually finished 20th overall, and was the fifth best rookie, while the race was won by Gunther from Eriksson and Zhou.
The rookie win went to Norris, followed by Mawson in second and Motopark's Marino Sato rounded of the Top 3.
The season ended with Norris leading the pack with 441 points, while Daruvala ended up sixth in the order with 191 points.
In the rookie standings, Norris was once again the leader with 628 points while Daruvala was second on 539.
The Indian was the only driver to have finished all the 30 races in the season, which included 25 race finishes inside the Top 10.