India's Arjun Maini on Sunday secured a maiden GP3 podium in Budapest, Hungary. He thus became the first Indian racing driver to finish a GP3 race on the podium since the series began in 2010.
The free practice session indicated that Maini, who is supported by JK Tyre, had become more comfortable with the car, having spent more time in it since the previous race at Silverstone. He finished 10th with a best lap of 1:33.873. It gave the 19-year-old confidence going into qualifying on Saturday where he secured ninth 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 ninth on the grid.
Race 1 began with Maini quickly moving up to the eighth place, granting him reverse pole for Race 2 if he finished in that position. He managed to hold on to the eighth place finish with a best lap of 1:36.844.
Race 2 began with Alexander Albon of ART Grand Prix overtaking Maini in the first corner itself. But Maini managed to hold off competition from Charles Leclerc, Albon's teammate and Series leader, who made his way up the grid to challenge him.
When the chequered flag dropped, Maini crossed the line in second place.
Asked about his first impressions of the car and the series as a whole, Maini said, "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. 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."