Carlin’s Jamie Caroline stormed to victory from pole position at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit this afternoon, as the 19-year-old claimed his second victory in three races.
Caroline, who also won on his main season debut weekend at Spa Francorchamps, was virtually untroubled throughout the race, after claiming his first pole in a very close qualifying session.
The British driver headed home championship leader Linus Lundqvist, who extended his lead in the standings to 125 points over Nicolai Kjaergaard, who returned to the podium with third place.
Caroline claimed his maiden BRDC British F3 Championship pole position in a thrilling qualifying session this morning, despite a late spin exiting Clark Curve that brought out the red flags with seconds remaining.
He improved his time by fractions on each lap, with the eventual margin being just 0.062s from team mate Kjaergaard, who posted his fastest effort right at the end of the session, and just as the red flags came out. Kjaergaard’s final lap pipped Billy Monger to the front row spot by just 0.011s, with Carlin taking a qualifying 1-2-3.
Lundqvist was also in the fight for pole, but could only manage the fourth quickest time and just over a tenth of a second away from Caroline’s best effort.
Sun Yue Yang continued his promising weekend with the fifth fastest time, 0.020s ahead of Lanan Racing’s Kush Maini, who was sixth quickest.
Krishnaraaj Mahadik claimed seventh for Double R Racing, with Tom Gamble and Manuel Maldonado eighth and ninth for Fortec Motorsports. Sasakorn Chaimongkol completed the top-10 for Hillspeed.
The exciting session saw a shoot out for pole between the Carlin drivers, with Caroline first to hit the top of the timing screens with five minutes elapsed with a time of 1m22.096s. Caroline’s next effort shaved four tenths off time, while Monger came close with a lap within 0.090s.
Monger then took over at the top, claiming provisional pole by just 0.023s, while Lundqvist also joined the party with the top three covered by just 0.046s at this stage. Caroline then reclaimed the top spot with a 1m21.637s effort that put him 0.032s quicker than Monger, before finally putting in his last effort to shave off a few more fractions to take his first pole, with Kjaergaard’s late improvement not quite enough to steal it away.
Lundqvist meanwhile spent the final five minutes of the session in the pit lane, while red flags ensured there would be no further last gasp improvements to challenge Caroline.
Caroline converted pole position into a dominant victory in race one, as the Carlin supersub delivered the goods again.
He had a great first lap and built a big gap of over three seconds in the first half of the race, and headed home championship leader Lundqvist. The Swede gained two positions off the line to claim second and therefore extended his championship lead over Kjaergaard who claimed third.
On his local circuit, Monger secured fourth place ahead of Carlin team mate Yang in fifth. Maini claimed sixth for Lanan Racing ahead of Double R Racing’s Mahadik, with Maldonado eighth for Fortec Motorsports. Gamble and Chaimongkol completed the top-10.
Caroline’s strong opening lap meant he held a lead of almost two seconds after the first tour, while Lundqvist starting fourth threaded his way through Monger and Kjaergaard on the run to Paddock Hill to hold second place. Lundqvist came under heavy pressure from the Carlin pair in the opening laps, allowing Caroline to build his sizeable lead.
In the second half of the race though, Lundqvist, on older tyres than the Carlin quartet, was still able to demonstrate his pace, setting a number of fastest laps and trimming the lead slightly in the process, with the gap down to around two and a half seconds on the penultimate lap. Kjaergaard was always close behind though, and the Dane ended the race with the fastest lap on the final tour, potentially giving him pole for race three on Sunday afternoon, and finishing just half a second behind the championship leader.
Monger in fourth kept the lead trio honest in the opening exchanges, but faded slightly as the race went on and came under heavy pressure from Yang, with the Chinese driver just 0.374s behind at the chequered flag.
Maini in sixth was nearly six seconds behind at the end of the race, but comfortably clear of Mahadik, who had Maldonado for close company for much of the race, the Venezuelan driver surviving a lurid slide exiting Graham Hill Bend on lap one. Gamble lost a place compared to his grid position to claim ninth on his first visit to the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in a single seater, but finished well clear of Chaimongkol, who had to fend off his team mate Jusuf Owega for the final spot in the top-10, the pair separated by half a second at the end of the race.
The top-three drivers in the race were presented with their trophies on the podium by Formula 2 racer and BRDC Rising Star Arjun Maini.
BRDC British F3 Championship, Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit Qualifying top-10:
1. Jamie Caroline, Carlin, 1m21.596s
2. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, +0.062s
3. Billy Monger, Carlin, +0.073s
4. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, +0.119s
5. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, +0.359s
6. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, +0.379s
7. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, +0.442s
8. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, +0.614s
9. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +0.808s
10. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +1.181s
Click here for full result.
BRDC British F3 Championship, Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit Race One top-10:
1. Jamie Caroline, Carlin, 14 laps
2. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, +2.958s
3. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, +3.529s
4. Billy Monger, Carlin, +9.473s
5. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, +9.847s
6. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, +15.744s
7. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, +16.845s
8. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +17.529s
9. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, +20.450s
10. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +28.277s
Click here for full result.
BRDC British F3 Championship standings after race 16 of 24:
1. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, 441pts
2. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, 316pts
3. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, 282pts
4. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, 273pts
5. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, 224pts
6. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, 215pts
7. Billy Monger, Carlin, 205pts
8. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, 175pts
9. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, 171pts
10. Tristan Charpentier, Fortec Motorsports, 166pts
Click here for full standings
The second race of the weekend at Brands Hatch, the full reverse grid contest, starts at 11.35 tomorrow (Sunday) morning, with the final race at 15.55. For more championship information visit www.britishf3.com.