Indian driver, Arjun Maini is really making his presence felt in the global motorsport arena and has created history by becoming the first ever Indian to win a race in the GP3 Series. Driving for Jenzer Motorsports, the Bangalore boy secured a fantastic win in Race 2 of Round 1 at Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona on Sunday. This is Arjun's first victory in the GP3 Series, and also his first win in the past two years. The win definitely adds to a fantastic weekend, having joined Haas F1 Team as part of the driver development program.
Race 1 of the GP3 Series on Saturday wasn't the most optimistic for Arjun. Having qualified sixth, Race 1 began with the Indian getting a good start and moved up by one position on the opening lap. However, he could not keep the momentum with the race leaders and had to settle for seventh place at the end of Race 1. That said, he still managed to secure six points from the race.
Nevertheless, Maini was in his true form in Race 2 starting at P2, in the reverse grid order. He immediately took the lead from pole-sitter Raoul Hyman, but did see resistance from Dorian Boccolacci and teammate Alessio Lorandi during the initial laps. However, Maini maintained his lead increasing the gap steadily over the next few laps. The 19-year-old eventually won the race with a healthy gap of six seconds ahead of the nearest car.
Speaking on his maiden victory, Arjun said, "I started under pressure as it was essential for me to get to the front from the beginning. My desired lead came from the first corner, followed by a nerve-racking first five laps with Boccolacci on my tail and his attempts to overtake me multiple times while we were in the DRS Zone. Once I broke away from the DRS zone I was able to focus on my pace and started to build the gap. It was the most amazing feeling as I crossed the finish line and it started to sink in that I had my first race win in GP3."
This is also the third time that the Indian National Anthem has been played during an F1 weekend. The last two times were thanks Karun Chandhok, who also happens to be Maini's mentor. The Indian driver was recently announced to be a part of Haas F1's driver development program and said, "My deepest gratitude to Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner, for having shown faith and trust in me to include me HAAS F1 Team's development program - an honor that I am still coming to terms with." He also thanked Sanjay Sharma from JK Racing and the team at TVS motorsport for extending support as a young driver through the last five years.
Maini now stands third in the drivers standings with 21 points, 4 points behind teammate Lorandi and 8 points behind leader Nirei Fukuzumi. The young lad has enough time to prepare for the next GP3 race scheduled in July at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.