Motorsport

Arjun Maini is first Indian to win a GP3 race

Arjun Maini  

Arjun Maini, driving for Jenzer Motorsports, created history by becoming the first Indian driver to win a GP3 race when he claimed the sprint race on Sunday.

The 19-year old scored his first win in two years while finishing six seconds ahead of Frenchman Dorian Boccolacci and teammate Alessio Lorandi of Italy.

Maini, who had had a tough race in the feature race on Saturday, started from second in the reverse grid sprint race. The Indian immediately took the lead on the opening lap passing pole-sitter Raoul Hyman.

Once into the lead, for the first few laps, Maini came under pressure from Boccolacci who tried a few moves to get ahead and the gap between the two was less than a second.

On lap 6, Boccolacci passed Maini into turn one but the Indian fought back and regained the lead into turn 2. This proved to be the turning point in the race with the Frenchman losing momentum and by the end of the lap, Maini had extended his lead to 1.5 seconds.

The Frenchman came under attack from compatriot Anthoine Hubert which gave Maini a much-needed breathing space.

Over the next seven laps, the Indian got his head down as he extended his lead to 6.2 seconds by the end of lap 13 and was comfortably the fastest man on track.

Speaking to The Hindu, an excited Maini said, “The moment has still not sunk in yet. I am still pumping and full of adrenaline.”

This was the third time the Indian National Anthem played during an F1 weekend, with the first two courtesy of mentor Karun Chandhok’s two wins in GP2.

Maini also thanked the Haas F1 team, for recruiting him, Sanjay Sharma (JK Racing) and TVS Motorsport for having supported him through the last five years.

Gautam Maini, Arjun’s father, called it the best race of his son’s career saying “considering the amount of pressure he was under in with Boccolacci having DRS, that gives you 15-20 km/hr more speed, he drove superbly to defend. It shows he can take the pressure.”

Going ahead with a long break before the next round in Austria, Maini said that qualifying is an area that he still needs to work on. “I was on a good lap but made a mistake and should have qualified higher than sixth.”

Maini now stands third in the drivers standings with 21 points, four behind teammate Lorandi and eight behind leader Nirei Fukuzumi.

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 12:01:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/motorsport/arjun-maini-is-first-indian-to-win-a-gp3-race/article18451607.ece

Next Story