Competing in the historic Masters of F3 event, Indian driver Arjun Maini was happy with his performance at Zandvoort last weekend, showing good pace among the 18-driver field.
Maini and his Van Amersfoort Racing teammate Alessio Lorandi were the first one's to confirm their participation in the 25th edition of Masters of F3 event.
This year, the grid had 15 drivers from FIA European F3 championship while one each from Indy Lights, EuroFormula Open, and Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series respectively.
Fellow Indian and Motopark driver Mahaveer Raghunathan too competed in the race at Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands.
Starting the weekend, Maini finished seventh and second in the two practice sessions, topped by Sergio Sette Camara (Motopark) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Carlin) respectively.
Raghunathan, meanwhile, finished 12th and 16th in the two sessions on Friday.
Saturday saw Maini qualifying sixth for the 12-lap qualifying race, later in the day.
The Indian was 0.522s off polesitter Camara as Giovinazzi finished second while Motopark's Markus Pommer was third. Raghunathan finished 17th.
"Qualifying was good, but I couldn't manage to put a good lap together, it could have been better," Maini told Motorsport.com.
In the qualifying race, teammates Maini and Lorandi got a good start and tussled with each other throughout the race. The Indian overtook Lorandi, but the Italian driver came back and finished seventh with Maini eighth.
"The initial start was good, but I was not aggressive enough, was a bit too cautious up front because it has been long since I had seen so few cars in front of me," Maini said after the race.
Fellow Indian, Raghunathan finished 17th after recovering from a hefty spin in the race which had Giovinazzi taking the win from Pommer and Camara.
Fighting Sunday's race
The grid position for Sunday's race was decided according to Saturday's qualifying race which meant Maini started eighth, behind his teammate while Raghunathan started 17th.
The Van Amersfoort driver had a good outing as he went on to finish sixth, fighting with Motopark's Nabil Jeffri, till the last lap for fifth.
The Indian tried to make a move on the last lap, but Jeffri defended well. While, Raghunathan ended 17th in a lonely race at the back of the field.
"It was a good race, although our full pace wasn’t shown in the race," said Maini. "It was difficult to follow anyone on track with the dirty air, but I managed to keep the pressure and attack Nabil on the last lap, it just wasn’t enough."
With European F3 contenders Felix Rosenqvist and Charles Leclerc giving the event a miss, Giovinazzi stamped his name in the history books, winning the race from George Russell (Carlin) and Pommer and joining the likes of Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Lewis Hamilton and others who have won the historic race.
Looking back at the weekend, Maini said: "It was a big improvement from us, we came into the weekend with a bit more knowledge of the track and the car really suited well with the tyres, so overall, a good weekend."
Interview by Tim Biesbrouck