Jehan Daruvala started Round 8 in the 2018 FIA European Formula 3 Championship finishing fourth and 11th in the two practice sessions on Friday at Nurburgring with Carlin teammate Ameya Vaidyanathan 22nd and 21st respectively.
The Qualifying 1 on Friday saw Daruvala finish ninth in a close session where he was just 0.403s off pole-sitter Prema's Robert Shwartzman. The Russian led teammate Mick Schumacher and Motopark's Dan Ticktum as Vaidyanathan was 22nd.
The Qualifying 2 on Saturday was nightmare for Daruvala who had to run the session with a suspension issue after his hit in Race 1. The Indian could only manage 17th for both Race 2 and Race 3 of which Schumacher was on pole.
The German beat Shwartzman this time with Ticktum in third for both the races in a same Top 3. Vaidyanathan, meanwhile, remained 22nd for both as well.
It was a dramatic start to Race 1 on Saturday morning when Daruvala was involved in a seven-car crash in Turn 1. It was a chain reaction where the Indian's front left suspenion broke when he had a collision with HitechGP's Alex Palou.
The Mumbaikar retired immediately from the race which was won by Schumacher after the German overtook Shwartzman in the first corner. Despite all the effort neither Shwartzman nor Ticktum could pass the German as they settled for second and third respectively.
Meanwhile, Vaidyanathan was involved in a fight against teammates Sacha Fenestraz and Nikita Troitskiy. He was ahead of them at one stage but dropped back to eventually finish 14th overall and ninth best rookie. It was also his best finish of the season.
The second race as well didn't start off well for Daruvala as he had to take evasive action in Turn 1 which meant he lost places to the back of the field on the opening lap. He then moved up to 18th while battling with Motopark's Juri Vips.
The two exchanged places at one point but Daruvala stayed ahead of the Estonian. Daruvala eventually finished 14th after three retirements and a move on Troitskiy. Vaidyanathan also had a big fight at back to finish 18th overall and ninth best rookie.
Two races in points allowed him to overtake Julian Hanses in the rookie standings. Meanwhile, it was Schumacher all the way in the front as he took his second win of the weekend from Shwartzman and Ticktum in a repeat of Race 1.
It was a storming start this time from Daruvala in the final race on Sunday as he made up four places to be 13th after the opening lap. But it was also the start of a long journey as he was stuck behind Motopark's Jonathan Aberdein from then on.
While he chased Aberdein, he had first VAR's Artem Petrov and then Motopark's Fabio Scherer on his tail. He did manage to get past Aberdein in a bold move but the South African came back on him to retake 12th.
He then had to defend hard from Scherer until the end of the race to finish 13th with no points from the weekend. Vaidyanathan was forced to retire after his collision with VAR's Sophia Floersch early in the race.
At the front, it was all-Schumacher show as he claimed his third win of the weekend to be now just three points behind Ticktum in the championship fight. The British driver was only fourth after Palou passed him on Lap 1. The Spaniard was third with Shwartzman in second.
The title fight will go into the two final rounds with Ticktum heading Schumacher. Daruvala hangs on to 10th place in the standings with 117.5 points while Vaidyanathan is 12th in the rookie standings with 27, as they now head to Austria during September 21-23 weekend.
About the Author
Darshan Chokhani is a FIA Accredited journalist covering both Indian and International championships, including Formula 1, MotoGP, Formula E, World Endurance Championship and more. Although specialising in motor racing, but follows Cricket, Tennis, WWE and events involving Indian athletes.