Barcelona: Arjun Maini became the first Indian driver to win a GP3 race when he won the sprint race at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona on Sunday.
The 19-year, who was on Thursday signed by Haas F1 team as development driver, scored his first win in two years, finishing six seconds ahead of Frenchman Dorian Boccolacci and teammate Alessio Lorandi of Italy.
The victory was set up at the start, which opened under clear but cool conditions with the grid lying in the shadow of the giant front straight stadium: poleman Raoul Hyman made a poor getaway with Boccolacci in P3 making a strong start but being stuck behind the South African, handing Maini a clear run to the first corner.
The Frenchman pushed the Indian—who had a tough race in the feature race on Saturday finishing seventh, started from second in the reverse grid sprint race—hard for the lead but 19-year-old racer from Bengaluru was up for the challenge, while behind them Hyman was looking in his mirrors at the coming menace of the ART threat looming there.
Anthoine Hubert soon disposed of Hyman and was looking to get into the mix of the fight for the lead, but in front of him Maini and Boccolacci were running side by side all around the circuit, which was only resolved when a small touch saw the Frenchman stumble, falling back towards his countryman and allowing the Indian to scamper away.
Further back and Lorandi was on a charge: the Italian was repeating his impressive speed from yesterday’s race to easily dispatch Hyman before focussing on Hubert, easing by the Frenchman at turn 1 with 5 laps to go and was looking towards Boccolacci, although he was running out of time to make a real challenge.
At the flag all the applause was for Maini, who celebrated his new alliance with Haas F1 by bringing home Jenzer’s first win since 2012 and easily dominated his rivals all race long.
Maini’s fellow Haas development driver, Santino Ferrucci, claimed the final point in eighth.