It wasn't a great start to Trident's Arjun Maini's weekend in Round 11 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at Sochi in Russia where he couldn't complete a proper flying lap in the practice session on Friday to finish last with problems in his #16 car.
The qualifying was also a nightmare as he spun on his flying lap to be last once again as Prema's Nyck de Vries took pole from Carlin's Lando Norris and ART Grand Prix's George Russell. Maini's teammate Alessio Lorandi was 13th.
It started well in the feature race on Saturday for Maini as he was one of the drivers on the alternate strategy to use the soft compound first. The Indian naturally gained places to run seventh when most of his rivals pitted for a tyre change.
Maini went long in the race but it proved detrimental when he had a collision with de Vries who was trying to pass him on the fresher compound. They both touched as Maini suffered a puncture and was forced to limp back into the pits.
He was already a lap down by then but decided to finish the race so as to start as further as possible in the sprint race. He was classified 15th as DAMS' Alexander Albon took the win from Nicholas Latifi and de Vries.
The sprint race on Sunday was hampered due to changing conditions as it started to rain in the middle of the race which caused some troubles to the drivers with a question whether to pit or not for the wet weather tyres.
The Indian lost places at the start of the race and was on a recovery mode then after. He decided to pit along with the other drivers when it started to rain and was involved in a fight with Norris at the back.
However, they both touched which meant the end of the race for Norris while Maini continued on but needed another stop to change his front wing to eventually finish 15th. He was handed a 10-second time penalty after the race for the collision but kept 15th place.
Championship leader Russell took the win from Carlin's Sergio Sette Camara as Albon's third place meant he keeps his title hopes alive while Norris is out of the contention now as they head for the finale in Abu Dhabi during November 23-25 weekend.
About the Author
Darshan Chokhani is a FIA Accredited journalist covering both Indian and International championships, including Formula 1, MotoGP, Formula E, World Endurance Championship and more. Although specialising in motor racing, but follows Cricket, Tennis, WWE and events involving Indian athletes.