Jess Edgar enjoyed a successful visit to the famous Autodromo Nazionale Monza at the weekend (July 7-9), as she scored her second podium of the F1 Academy season as well as finishing with her biggest haul of points to date.
Coming into the ‘temple of speed’ with a positive focus having made good strides forward over the past month with her Rodin Carlin team, the teenager was disappointed not to be right on the pace in free practice, working with her crew to make changes going into both qualifying sessions.
In tricky, damp conditions, Jess finished 11th in Q1 but dug deep in Q2 to finish ninth, just three tenths of a second from a second row start and only eight tenths off pole position. After the opening race of the weekend was red flagged on lap one, she made ground on the restart, putting the pressure on Nerea Martí and moving into fifth going into the Lesmo Corners.
Closing in on the leading battle, Jess capitalised when teammate Megan Gilkes tried to make a move, grabbing fourth, and then produced a fantastic move around the outside of the other Carlin driver, Abbi Pulling, going into the last corner on the final lap, clinching a well-earned podium finish.
Getting a clean start to race two, Jess started to make forward progress once again, avoiding contact between rivals to sweep through several spots, later gaining two positions with one bold move on the run to the Variante Ascari chicane. However, with the leading quartet having made a break from the pack, she didn’t have enough time to close in, taking fifth at the flag, a gain of six places.
Jess lost a few spots on the opening lap of the third race, doing well to avoid a spinning car into the first chicane, but worked to regain ground before the Safety Car was called. The race restarted with three laps to run but contact between two cars meant it was back out on track again, with the contest finishing without any further racing laps, halting her progress.
After a positive weekend with another trophy and 20 points scored in the championship, Jess is looking ahead to the penultimate meeting of the season at Le Castellet in France, over the weekend of July 28-30, where she will aim to continue her upswing in form and make up ground in the Drivers’ Standings.
Jess Commented,“Monza was our best weekend of the season. After starting free practice a bit off the pace, we came up with a setup we thought could work, but we then used a set of tyres which would put us to a disadvantage in the race, although most drivers did the same.
“The setup didn’t work out as we had hoped, so we went into qualifying with a setup we didn’t really know. That session was disappointing as the conditions were damp, and I didn’t push hard enough, so we ended up 11th and 9th.
“I made up for it in race one. There was an incident at the start which caused a red flag, and, on the restart, I started P8, fought my way up to P4, and made the move for P3 going into the last corner. I also felt I drove well in race 2 as starting P11 again I climbed my way up to P5 so scored more points.
“Race 3 I started P9, and it had two Safety Cars which meant we couldn’t race much, and we finished under the Safety Car. With the lack of racing laps, I finished P8, but overall, I’m pleased with the performance that the team and I showed. I think we are making lots of progress which means I’m looking forward to getting back out at Le Castellet in a few weeks’ time.”