The second round of F1 Academy’s second season supported the 2024 Miami Grand Prix, and Bianca Bustamante would put in strong performances all weekend long, with the Al Qubaisi sisters also putting in good showings. Asian Motorsport reviews all the action around the Hard Rock Stadium.

By Seb Tirado

Free Practice 1 & 2

FP1 on Friday morning would see Bustamante go an impressive 3rd with a 2:00.268. The Al Qubaisi sisters would finish further down the order, with Amna in 12th with a 2:01.141 and Hamda last of the full-time drivers in 15th with a 2:01.514.

FP2 that afternoon would see Bustamante finish in a lower position of 7th, albeit with a faster time of a 1:59.792. Amna Al Qubaisi would finish just behind the McLaren junior in 8th with a 2:00.043 and Hamda would finish 10th with a 2:00.299.

Qualifying 

For Race 1, Hamda would qualify an impressive 3rd with a fastest lap of a 1:59.096, just ahead of Bustamante in 4th with a 1:59.115. Amna would qualify down in 15th after a tough session with a 2:00.019.

For Race 2, Bustamante would qualify 2nd with a 1:59.122, with Hamda in 4th with a 1:59.370. Amna would qualify down in 14th, with a second-fastest time of a 2:00.055.

Race 1

Bustamante would stall at the start of the race, immediately dropping her to the back of the pack. Hamda would jump up to 3rd as a result whilst Amna would make up a few positions in the first 2 laps and get herself up to 10th by the end of Lap 2. Elsewhere, Bustamante would quickly make her way up to the rest of the pack, overtaking Emely de Heus and Wild Card driver Courtney Crone by the end of the lap. The Filipina would soon dispatch Lola Lovinfosse for 12th and Amna would lunge past Lia Block into T17 for 9th.

Bustamante would overtake Carrie Schreiner for 11th on Lap 5 and would get Block a lap later for the final points-paying position of 10th. Bustamante would then battle with the older Al Qubaisi sister on Lap 8, locking up into T17 and running side by side with her down the main straight before finally getting ahead after outbraking the RB driver into T1. However, she would then be given a 5-second penalty for cutting the T14-15 chicane a few laps earlier, as she was chasing the Sauber junior.

By Lap 11, the younger Al Qubaisi sister would have to defend her podium position against the hard charging Chloe Chambers. The Haas driver would go down the inside of Hamda into T11, losing out on 3rd and then 4th as Maya Weug took advantage of Hamda going wide. Hamda would defend against an attacking Nerea Martí heading into T17 and onto the subsequent lap as Bustamante made a move on Jessica Edgar into T1. Martí would overtake Hamda on Lap 12 as they headed out of T17, with Martí performing a switchback on the Red Bull driver.

With Weug being given a 5-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, Hamda Al Qubaisi would be promoted to her final finishing position of 5th. Bianca Bustamante would finish 7th on the road before falling down to 9th with her penalty, although still achieving the fastest lap of the race with a 1:59.322, with Amna Al Qubaisi being promoted to her final finishing position of 8th.

Race 2

Bustamante would launch an early attack on Abbi Pulling as they made their way through the first sector. Amna would fall to the back of the pack after being sandwiched by Block in T1, but would soon get back up to speed, quickly overtaking Crone. Hamda would lose 5th to Chambers heading into T17, with some slight contact between the two. Heading into Lap 4, Amna would start battling de Heus for 13th, ultimately getting past the Dutch driver heading out of T8. Her sister would be overtaken by Weug into T17, dropping her down to 6th.

Amna would overtake Schreiner for 12th on Lap 6 as they went through T1 and would get Block a lap later for 11th heading into T11. She would avoid a tangle between Aurelia Nobels and Lovinfosse in T17 that same lap and would be promoted up to 9th as a result. Bustamante would also fend off Doriane Pin in the last half of the race and manage to pull away from the Mercedes junior in the last few laps. A T7 spin for Edgar on Lap 11 would further promote Amna to her final finishing position of 8th.

After a clean and defensive drive, Bianca Bustamante would finish in 2nd, scoring her fifth career podium and her best finish of the year so far. Hamda Al Qubaisi would finish in 6th place and Amna Al Qubaisi would achieve her third consecutive 8th place finish of the season.

F1 Academy Drivers’ Standings Top 10

  1. Abbi Pulling (Alpine/Rodin) – 99
  2. Doriane Pin (Mercedes/Prema) – 65
  3. Maya Weug (Ferrari/Prema) – 51
  4. Chloe Chambers (Haas/Campos) – 40
  5. Bianca Bustamante (McLaren/ART) – 39
  6. Nerea Martí (Tommy Hilfiger/Campos) – 33
  7. Hamda Al Qubaisi (RB/MP) – 30
  8. Jessica Edgar (American Express/Rodin) – 18
  9. Amna Al Qubaisi (Red Bull/MP) – 12
  10. Carrie Schreiner (Kick Sauber/Campos) – 9

F1 Academy Teams’ Standings

  1. Prema Racing – 124
  2. Rodin Motorsport – 122
  3. Campos Racing – 82
  4. ART Grand Prix – 46
  5. MP Motorsport – 42

Next up, F1 Academy heads to Barcelona in support of the Spanish Grand Prix for Round 3 of the 2024 season.

Header image credit: F1 Academy | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

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