Arjun Maini secures a maiden GP3 podium in Budapest in his second weekend competing in the GP3 series. The free practice session indicated that Maini, supported by JK Tyre, had become more comfortable with the car, having spent more time in it since the previous race at Silverstone.
This showed in his time on the track, finishing 10th with a best lap of 1:33.873. It gave the 19-year-old confidence going into qualifying on Saturday where he secured 9th position with a best lap of 1:33.874 after the session was red flagged when Steijn Schothorst of Campos Racing stopped unexpectedly on Turn 7, meaning he would start Race 1 9th on the grid, according to a media release from the driver’s management.
Race 1 began with Maini quickly moving up to 8th place, granting him reverse pole for Race 2 if he finished in that same position. He met tough competition from behind with Jack Aitken of Arden International constantly putting pressure on him to make a mistake and allow the Brit to pass. But Maini managed to stave off the pressure and held on for an impressive 8th place finish with a best lap of 1:36.844 to start on reverse pole in Race 2 for the second time in two races in GP3.
Race 2 began with Maini being overtaken by Alexander Albon of ART Grand Prix in the first corner itself who then began to put some distance between himself and the Indian. But while Maini continued to regain pole position, it became imperative to hold off other competition that came in the form of Albon’s teammate and Series leader, Charles Leclerc, who made his way up the grid to challenge Maini from 3rd. It was a sight to behold when the chequered flag dropped as Maini crossed the line in 2nd place to take home a GP3 podium and his maiden podium in the series as well.
“It’s been a great experience with Jenzer. I’ve had quite a tough time the last two seasons and coming here I’ve already learned a lot. I work with really good people. I’ve got to thank my sponsors without whom I wouldn’t be here: JK Tyre, TVS and of course my parents,” Maini was quoted as saying in the release.
“It’s been a really good experience. I think it’s a fantastic Series for young drivers. You need to be able to adapt quickly here. The Pirelli tyres really teach you to extract what you can from there which is a great learning curve.”