Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs returned to the podium in Hungary this weekend, after a stunning opening lap in race one saw him storm from ninth on the grid to finish third. The 20 year-old backed that up with a strong tenth in race two, recovering from a slow getaway off the line, which had dropped him to dead last.

The weekend started well for the Marussia Manor Racing driver, after a strong performance in the opening, damp free practice on Friday netted the fifth fastest time. In the second, dry session Adrian struggled slightly with the handling and balance but with a few tweaks made to the car overnight remained confident ahead of Saturday morning’s qualifying session.

The early part of the session showed promise of a place within the top two rows and before his stop for new tyres Adrian was third fastest. However, over the remaining minutes of the session, in which the tyres produce opportunity for just three fast laps, the Tonbridge racer caught traffic, losing three and a half tenths of a second on his fastest lap, to wind up ninth.

Saturday dawned dry and sunny for the opening race, and Adrian made his customary good start to pass three cars before turn one. At the fifth corner, he made up two more places to cross the line third at the end of the first lap. Thereafter Adrian drove a mature race to the flag, to notch up more valuable championship points with another podium-winning performance.

Race two on Sunday was held in very different track conditions, early morning rain soaking the track and making conditions tricky. At the lights though Adrian was unable to make the most of his third row start, as he stalled off the line, dropping him to dead last of the 30-car field, and with a battle on his hands to make progress through the field.

A stirring drive by the BRDC Rising Star however allowed him to pick off drivers on virtually every lap, eventually crossing the line tenth.

“The weekend started off pretty well and we were quick in the opening practice in the damp conditions, although we lost a bit of pace in the dry,” said Adrian. “Qualifying was looking pretty good too, after running third before we pitted, I was confident of being able to continue at the pace on new tyres.

“Unfortunately on my three fastest laps, I caught traffic, there were blue flags shown virtually all the time, and I spent much of the time having to pass cars. My flying lap was looking good for third, but then I caught a car in the chicane, costing me over three tenths of a second, but still ninth wasn’t too bad.

“The opening race was good, I made a great start to make up three places but when I was up into third, I really couldn’t catch the cars ahead. Race two was frustrating. After the wheelspin we suffered in Germany, I was very careful not to do the same here but unfortunately it went the other way and I stalled.

“But once I got going albeit at the back of the grid, I was able to claw my way back through the field and up to tenth, which is not a bad showing. It’s all getting very close in the championship now, I’ve closed the gap to just six points away from second place, and now look forward to the next rounds where I hope we can keep pushing forward with a return to qualifying form.”

The next double-header rounds of the 2011 GP3 Series take place on 27/28 August at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit high in the Ardennes region of Belgium, where weather traditionally plays a major role in the outcome of the results.