Five Young Drivers to Watch in 2018: Half-Term Update

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At the beginning of the year, Essaar listed five drivers who we felt had the ability to take the motor racing world by storm in 2018.

And with the summer break well under, now is the perfect opportunity to see how they’ve got on so far.

Lando Norris

Having won the FIA Formula Three European Championship in 2017, Lando Norris’ year in the FIA Formula 2 Championship got off to the perfect start, winning the first feature race in Bahrain from Pole Position for the Carlin team.

Although the McLaren junior has yet to win another race since, he has appeared on the podium six more times, and came close to further triumphs in Azerbaijan and Hungary.

In fact, Norris has scored points in every race this season bar two.

Consequently, he is second in the Drivers’ Championship on 159 points and is only 12 behind fellow compatriot George Russell.

You can be sure that Norris will take the fight to Russell and their Formula 2 rivals, but he’ll need to win some more races win to pile on the pressure.

Harrison Scott

Out of the five drivers to appear on the list, Harrison Scott is the only one based Stateside and has been competing in the Pro Mazda Championship, one of the feeder categories to the IndyCar Series.

After a respectable start, which saw Scott finish ninth in the first race at St. Petersburg for RP Motorsport, Scott recorded a hat-trick of podiums.

This included two victories at the Barber Motorsport Park and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course respectively.

Two further podiums followed at Road America before Scott was involved in a horrific crash in Toronto.

At the start of the race, Scott was amongst the midfield pack on the run down to Turn 3, when under braking he was squeezed by Canadian Antonio Serravalle.

This caused Scott’s car to hit the wall and break its suspension, before being launched into the air after hitting the back of Sting Ray Robb’s car.

Thankfully, the British driver walked away from the scene of the incident, but missed the most recent races at Mid-Ohio as a precaution.

This leaves Scott 8th in the Drivers’ standings on 189 points, with three rounds to go.

Charles Leclerc

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9th & 8th today, good day. 👊

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Outside of the championship battle between Mercedes and Ferrari, Charles Leclerc’s performances this season have caught everyone’s attention.

The defending Formula 2 champion had a slow start to the year, whilst team-mate Marcus Ericsson managed to record Sauber’s first points courtesy of his ninth-place finish in Bahrain.

However, Leclerc kept his head down and went on to finish sixth in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, sparking a run of five points finishes in six races, with his home race at Monaco being the anomaly in the sequence.

Leclerc has also impressed many fans with his recent Q3 appearances in qualifying.

However, the car has struggled with a lack of pace and reliability, dropping Leclerc to 15th in the Drivers’ standings with 13 points.

Yet this hasn’t stopped the rumour mill going into overdrive, as the Monegasque driver has been linked as the replacement for the former World Champion Kimi Rӓikkӧnen at Ferrari, as well a move to fellow Ferrari customers Haas.

There is more to come from Leclerc, and his recent drives for Sauber demonstrate that he is heading in the right direction towards Formula One stardom.

George Russell

Viewed by some pundits as one of Britain’s upcoming stars in Motorsport, George Russell has gone from strength to strength this year.

After a slow start in his maiden FIA Formula 2 campaign for ART Grand Prix, the Mercedes junior has showed us why he is on the radar of the Silver Arrows.

Russell’s four wins – two of which were from pole position – and a further three podiums sees him lead the Drivers’ championship on 171 points with four rounds remaining.

His performance in the sprint race at Hungary was undoubtedly one of his best, fighting through from the back of the grid to finish in a credible eighth place.

These demonstrations have unsurprisingly made him one of the favourites for this year’s Formula 2 crown, and Russell will be sure to fight to the end.

Jehan Daruvala

In 2017, Jehan Daruvala’s remarkable consistency in the FIA Formula Three European Championship saw the Indian driver finish 25 of the 30 races in the points en route to sixth in the Drivers’ Championship for Carlin.

This year though, a much more competitive field has seen the Force India protégé struggle to challenge for victory on a regular basis.

Despite this, Daruvala has achieved five podium finishes this season and is fifth in the Drivers’ standing on 111.5 points.

Two of these podiums came at the last round held at Spa-Francorchamps, winning the first race from pole before taking third place in race two.

However, last year Daruvala also had a slow start in the championship before going on to challenge the frontrunners more often.

There is a long way to go yet, and given that Daruvala is just 42.5 points behind championship leader Marcus Armstrong with five rounds remaining, the Indian driver will give it his all amongst his fellow title contenders.