Jehan Daruvala looked to have turned a corner with his Qualifying pace in Rounds 5 and 6, securing successive front-row starts, but the Carlin racer was then back in 11th last time out in Jeddah and said that his and the team’s struggle to regularly turn the car on for one lap has been their downfall this season.
Daruvala has been out of the top 10 three times out of seven on a Friday and only has two front-row starts in the Feature Races, making it an upward struggle to score podiums and wins.
“I think the main thing is that I haven't quite had the optimum Quali pace overall in the seven rounds so far this year and I think that has hurt us a bit in the racing,” said Daruvala.
“I think we made a step forward in Monza and Sochi. We were on the front row in both of those. Last week wasn't great, but the main thing is trying to get the car in the right window.
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"From my side, it’s about cutting out my mistakes, which I was making at the start of the season. Cutting out the small mistakes will be important because every tenth makes a big difference in a Championship like this.”
Despite his difficulty in Qualifying, Daruvala still sits seventh in the standings, 28 points off a spot in the top five, with three podiums and a win, thanks to the team’s strong race pace and Daruvala’s impressive overtaking skills.
With three races to go, Carlin are fighting to become vice-champions, currently sitting in second, 14.5 points ahead of last season’s runners’ up, UNI-Virtuosi, and Daruvala wants them to end the year on a positive note.
“It has been a year of ups and downs,” he continued. “We’ve had some good races, we've had some bad ones, but we are close to top five in the Championship. I would say that I expected a bit more at the start of the season, but this happens in racing. It is what it is.
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“In general, I am looking forward to finishing on a high. I think that the team really deserves it and I think that we can be pretty strong here.”
Daruvala missed the 2019 post-season test at Abu Dhabi due to a knee injury, but he has prior experience at the Abu Dhabi circuit and is excited to try out the new layout.
“It will be my first time here in the F2 car and I’m looking forward to it,” he continued. “I enjoy it around here, and now with the new layout, it will be a new challenge for everyone. I’m looking forward to getting back into the car for back-to-back weekends.”