Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist has been crowned the 2018 BRDC British F3 Champion, after scorching to victory at Silverstone today.
Lundqvist started from pole, his third of the year, and led every lap, while his only title rival Nicolai Kjaergaard retired on the first lap, meaning the Swedish driver only had to finish on the podium to take the title. But he set a string of fastest laps to pull out a margin of over three seconds and claim his seventh win, securing the title with two races, held tomorrow, still to run.
Lundqvist started his weekend in ideal fashion, with a stunning series of laps that put the Double R driver 0.387s clear of Carlin’s Billy Monger and Fortec’s Tom Gamble.
Lundqvist’s closest championship challenger Nicolai Kjaergaard rescued fourth place at the end of the session, having been in the lower reaches of the top-10 for most of qualifying, and was within half a second of Lundqvist’s time.
Series returnee Clement Novalak claimed fifth for Carlin, just 0.013s ahead of Fortec’s Manuel Maldonado, with Chris Dittmann Racing’s Ayrton Simmons seventh.
Double R’s Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Fortec’s Hampus Ericsson and Douglas Motorsport’s Jamie Chadwick completed the top-10.
Rain was falling hard at the start of the session, but eased off quickly, allowing conditions to improve throughout the 20 minute period, which culminated in a flurry of fast times.
Lanan Racing’s Kush Maini set the pace initially, before Monger and then Lundqvist took over at the top. Once the Swede hit the top, he was an almost permanent fixture. Next time around, Gamble and Monger took brief turns at the top, only for Lundqvist to immediately reclaim provisional pole.
With just under five minutes remaining, Lundqvist improved again to go almost three quarters of a second clear, but his position looked under threat from Monger, who set overall best times in the first two sectors, only to lose three seconds in the final sector due to traffic.
Lundqvist then improved again with his final effort, and while Gamble and Monger managed to improve with their last efforts to go third and second respectively, they were around four tenths off the championship leader, who secured his third pole of the year.
A near perfect session for Lundqvist could have been even better had it not been for a late effort from his title rival Kjaergaard. The Dane had been in seventh place with moments to go, but his last effort was good enough to put him fourth.
Lundqvist claimed the title, after storming to his seventh victory of the season at Silverstone this afternoon (Saturday).
With his title rival Kjaergaard retiring on the first lap, Lundqvist needed only to finish on the podium, but converted pole into one of the most dominant wins of the year by over three seconds, and also set fastest lap, potentially putting him in an ideal position for race three tomorrow afternoon.
Fortec’s Gamble claimed second after challenging Lundqvist on the first lap, while Monger took third having dropped to fourth on the first lap, before moving back into the podium positions on lap two.
Maldonado claimed fourth, and hassled Monger throughout the latter stages of the race, with Simmons putting in a strong performance for Chris Dittmann Racing to take fifth. Krishnaraaj Mahadik was sixth, a quarter of a second clear of Hillspeed’s Jusuf Owega, while Hampus Ericsson took eighth, holding off a queue of cars for the duration of the race, with Jamie Chadwick and Sasakorn Chaimongkol completing the top-10.
At the start, Lundqvist made a good get away to lead to Copse corner, while behind him, Tom Gamble jumped Billy Monger off the line to take second on the run down to Copse, with Monger slotting into third. Gamble challenged Lundqvist on the run down to the Becketts complex, but the Swede was able to hold him off and retain the lead. Heading into the final third of the lap, the title battle swung massively in Lundqvist’s favour, with Kjaergaard leaving the track at the fast Farm left hander, and failing to rejoin.
That development meant that Lundqvist only needed to finish on the podium to take the crown, but instead he proceeded to pull away from Gamble at a rate of knots. 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. As Lundqvist continued to set a string of fastest laps, the lead was up to 3.4 seconds at the end of lap six, before stabilising the gap to take his seventh, and ultimately decisive win of the year, claiming the crown with two races to spare. Lundqvist holds an 85 point lead with just 72 now available this weekend.
Behind him, Gamble took a clear second, establishing a gap of over three seconds to Monger in third to reignite his chances of taking a top-three finish in the championship, while Monger took his fourth podium of the year. The Carlin driver was made to fight for it though, as he fell from second on the grid to fourth on the first lap behind Maldonado. Monger forced his way past on lap two, but from there onwards it was a scrap between the pair for the final podium spot, with Monger eventually taking it by just over half a second.
Maldonado’s fourth place saw him gain two places on his starting position, while Simmons in fifth had a clear race for Chris Dittmann Racing having started seventh on the grid, and continuing his strong adaptation to the BRDC British F3 car.
Double R’s Mahadik was another to gain two places from his starting position to take sixth, and the Indian driver now faces a fight for third in the championship, being three points behind Kush Maini, who finished 11th in the race, and eight points clear of Gamble.
Owega in seventh was just 0.236s behind Mahadik at the flag, having climbed from 12th on the grid, while Ericsson had race long pressure from a train of cars, with Chadwick, Chaimongkol, Maini, and Sun Yue Yang following him closely throughout.
None of that mattered to Lundqvist though, who now joins names including 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.
The top three drivers were presented with their trophies on the podium by BRDC Member and well-known commentator Ian Titchmarsh. The final two races of the season take place at 09.20 and 14.25 tomorrow.
New champion Lundqvist commented: “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.”
BRDC British F3 Championship, Silverstone qualifying top-10:
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
Click here for full result.
BRDC British F3 Championship, Silverstone race one top-10:
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
Click here for full result.
BRDC British F3 Championship standings after race 22 of 24:
1. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, 531pts
2. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, 446pts
3. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, 356pts
4. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, 353pts
5. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, 345pts
6. Billy Monger, Carlin, 299pts
7. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, 289pts
8. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, 252pts
9. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, 233pts
10. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, 229pts
Click here for full standings