01 Jehan Daruvala
02 Pedro Piquet
07 Devlin DeFrancesco
01 Pedro Piquet
02 Robert Shwartzman
29 Devlin DeFrancesco
Tucked away in the beautiful Ardennes forest, Spa Francorchamps has played host to some of the best races in motorsport history. But this weekend, it served as a harrowing reminder of the dangers of the sport, as tragically, Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert lost his life in an on-track incident on Saturday afternoon. Despite a career best qualifying session for Devlin, a dark cloud was cast over the whole weekend, with many drivers, Devlin included, mourning the loss of a friend.
Devlin’s weekend started well. Friday’s free practice session gave the youngster time to acclimatise to the 7km circuit – the longest on the calendar. With the assurance that the pace was there after trialling several downforce options, the team felt confident heading into the qualifying session that afternoon.
With all thirty drivers taking to the track at once, timing runs to perfection can be tricky. However, his confidence was not misplaced. Rapid from the get-go, the young Canadian Italian set a 2:06:094 putting him into an incredible second position during the first set of flying laps. With the clock ticking down, a frantic rush for a faster time ensued, and this, teamed with the constant improvement of the track, dropped Devlin slightly further down the order.
Finishing the session in a career best of 7th the young driver was elated:
“We produced the result that we knew we were capable of,” he said. “I was not expecting P2 — but I’m really happy that we’re moving in the right direction and producing what out potential is.”
Starting Saturday mornings feature race from the 4th row, Devlin knew he had an opportunity to battle for some serious points. However, this dream was not to be, as contact on the first lap resulted in a broken front wing and a trip to the pits. Re-joining the pack, despite rapidly reducing the gap in front, it was a lonely race, having lost too much time to try and mount a challenge for points.
After the tragic events that unfolded on Saturday afternoon, a minute’s silence was held for Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert before the start of Sunday’s Formula 3 race. With heavy hearts the thirty young drivers set off for the second race of the weekend – to honour their friend the only way they knew how – racing. With Sunday’s grid determined by Saturday’s finish, due to his wing damage, Devlin started from the back row.
Getting away from the line cleanly, he rapidly climbed 11 places to 18th in the first two laps alone. Despite having incredible pace, contact with Jake Hughes shortly after ended both drivers’ races.
Devlin and his entire team send their absolute deepest condolences to all he knew and loved Anthoine. Thoughts are also with Juan Manuel Correa for a full and speedy recovery, after sustaining serious injuries during the same accident. The field will be out once again, next weekend (6th – 8th September) to honour their friend during the penultimate round of the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship.