Nineteen-year-old Arjun Maini, who along with American Santino Ferrucci was signed as a development driver for the Haas F1 Team, got his first full campaign of the GP3 Series at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with a seventh place in the feature race after qualifying sixth.
Maini started to compete in one of F1’s official feeder series last year from the third round after bailing on a tough spell racing in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship.
A sprint race podium after starting from pole on a reverse grid at the Hungaroring last year and a fourth place finish in the Sepang feature race were the Bengaluru native’s highlights for 2016.
He finished the season with 50 points that placed him tenth in the points table.
This season Maini is partnered by Italy’s Alessio Lorandi who was Maini’s teammate at Van Amersfoort Racing in the 2015 European F3 season. Lorandi finished that season 20th in the points standings with 26 points, just one less than Maini’s haul that year.
However, in 2016 Lorandi moved to Carlin Racing while Maini was with the far less competitive Threebond with T-Sport squad and the Italian competed in seven rounds and scored a win and a podium.
Starting the 22-lap feature race in sixth place, Maini managed to climb up to fifth place before crossing the line in seventh, which would put him in second place on the starting grid for Sunday’s sprint race on account of the grid being reversed.