Carlin's Kaylen Frederick took full advantage of the BRDC British Formula 3 triple-header on the Donington National circuit today (Sunday), claiming two wins and a seventh place to thrust him into the championship lead, with just three races remaining at Silverstone on 7/8 November.
Frederick started the day nine points behind Hitech GP's Kush Maini, but won race one from pole, followed that up with seventh in the reversed grid second encounter, and then delivered one of the most dominant BRDC British F3 wins in race three, again from pole.
The opening race of the weekend was due to take place on Saturday but poor weather meant it was carried over to this morning, with the encounter held in much more favourable conditions. Frederick converted pole into a comfortable lead at the first corner but had to wait to build a gap as the safety car was deployed after five cars retired on the opening lap after several incidents.
Frederick built up a margin after the restart to fellow championship contender Ulysse De Pauw (Douglas Motorsport) and then kept it clean to grab his sixth win of the year, reclaiming the championship lead he relinquished at Brands Hatch.
De Pauw finished second, 1.2 seconds behind the American to strengthen his championship aspirations, with Oliver Clarke taking third for Hillspeed, his second podium of the year. Maini was only able to finish ninth, giving Frederick a 14-point lead in the standings.
The reversed grid second encounter saw Frederick's teammate Nazim Azman claim his second victory of the year. The Malaysian outdragged pole sitter Max Marzorati down to Redgate on lap one, and then fended off the early attentions of Double R's Benjamin Pedersen, before stretching his advantage to 2.655 seconds at the chequered flag. Pedersen took his second podium of the year, four-tenths ahead of De Pauw, who secured his second podium of the day.
The championship race took another swing though, with Maini finishing fourth from 13th on the grid, while Frederick could only claim seventh from eighth at the start. That meant the pair were separated by just two points heading into the final race of the weekend.
Despite a few drops of rain falling, Frederick made an immaculate start from pole position to immediately assert his dominance in race three. He pulled away with metronomic pace, over seven seconds clear of Clarke in second place with two laps to go, but the British driver was denied his best result of the season on the penultimate lap, when he was forced into retirement.
That handed second to his teammate Sasakorn Chaimongkol, who enjoyed his first podium of the season, over 15 seconds away from Frederick, who took win number seven of 2020. Thai driver Chaimongkol spent much of the race defending, with Maini taking his first top three result of the weekend, finishing just three tenths away from second spot.
Five drivers head to Silverstone in mathematical contention for the title. Just 13 points, the equivalent of an eighth place finish in races one or three, separate the top two in the championship, with De Pauw well within touching distance in third, despite a difficult final race of the weekend. Double R's Louis Foster and Carlin's Azman also remain in the battle, with just three races remaining at the home of the British Grand Prix.
Double race winner Frederick said: "We got a double pole position and a double race win, so I'm really pleased with that. We just had an amazing car all weekend, we did the work early in qualifying where we could make it easy for ourselves in the races, so we just had to get good starts. Then we could just hammer away lap times and we've brought home two really good results at a really important time of the season, leading into the last three rounds at Silverstone.
"We don't have a massive margin [in the championship] but it's something, so it'll give me a bit of a cushion going into the last three rounds. We'll still have the same goal as every other weekend; qualify on pole and hopefully get some race wins."
Maini added: "I'm really a bit disappointed with my qualifying to be honest, but I did two good comebacks to stay only 13 points behind Kaylen, which is nothing in this championship. We're keeping it alive and I think it's going to be a fun Silverstone. I think he's [Frederick] definitely had the pace on us this weekend, but this championship is swinging between me and him over the last four or five rounds so anything could happen in my eyes.
"This is my 11th podium of the season, I'm happy with that. Obviously the last two weekends have not been ideal for me, after having a 55 point lead we kind of threw that away. But if after qualifying you'd told me that I'd leave this weekend only 13 points behind I'd be happy, so I think our worst is gone and obviously he might have a bad weekend next time like this, and anything could happen."
BRDC British F3 Championship, Donington Park National circuit, race one top-six:
1. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, 15 laps
2. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, +1.266s
3. Oliver Clarke, Hillspeed, +8.659s
4. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +11.285s
5. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +12.850s
6. Benjamin Pedersen, Double R Racing, +15.182s
BRDC British F3 Championship, Donington Park National circuit, race two top-six:
1. Nazim Azman, Carlin, 18 laps
2. Benjamin Pedersen, Double R Racing, +2.655s
3. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, +3.099s
4. Kush Maini, Hitech GP, +7.702s
5. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +10.632s
6. Josh Skelton, Chris Dittmann Racing, +11.772s
BRDC British F3 Championship, Donington Park National circuit, race three top-six:
1. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, 18 laps
2. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +15.103s
3. Kush Maini, Hitech GP, +15.412s
4. Louis Foster, Double R Racing, +16.549s
5. Benjamin Pedersen, Double R Racing, +17.304s
6. Nazim Azman, Carlin, +17.994s
BRDC British F3 Championship, top-six standings after race 21 of 24:
1. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, 420pts
2. Kush Maini, Hitech GP, 407pts
3. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, 378pts
4. Louis Foster, Double R Racing, 353pts
5. Nazim Azman, Carlin, 331pts
6. Josh Skelton, Chris Dittmann Racing, 283pts