F1 Academy’s second season continued in Barcelona this weekend in support of the Spanish Grand Prix, with Hamda Al Qubaisi in particular showing great pace all weekend. Asian Motorsport reviews all the action around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

By Seb Tirado

Free Practice

The sole Free Practice session on Friday morning would see Bianca Bustamante go 2nd fastest in the session with a 1:42.474, joint-fastest with championship leader Abbi Pulling in 1st. Hamda Al Qubaisi would finish just behind the McLaren Junior in 3rd with a 1:42.687 and Amna Al Qubaisi would finish in 8th with a 1:43.281. 

Qualifying

For Race 1, Bustamante would qualify in 5th with a 1:41.921, with Hamda in 7th with a 1:42.123. Amna would qualify down in 13th with a 1:42.495.

For Race 2, Hamda would qualify in 5th with a 1:42.248 with Bustamante in 8th with a 1:42.315. Amna would qualify in 15th and last with a 1:43.012.

Race 1

Bustamante would have a slow start off the line, but a stall for Doriane Pin ahead of her would let her move up into 4th as the pack made their way towards the first corner. Hamda Al Qubaisi would also make up positions on the run down to T1, moving up to 5th and closely behind the Filipina driver. 

The Safety Car would come out a few corners later after Maya Weug tagged the right-rear of Amna Al Qubaisi going out of T5, beaching both cars in the gravel and taking them both out of the race. Weug would later be given a 5-place grid penalty for the incident, moving Amna up a grid position for race two.

After green flag running continued at the end of Lap 6, Bustamante and Hamda Al Qubaisi maintained their positions for remaining 10 laps, finishing in 4th and 5th respectively. 

Race 2

Contrary to yesterday’s race, Bustamante would have a rapid run down to T1, making her way up to 5th and behind Hamda Al Qubaisi. The Filipina driver would go out wide and off the track through T2 as she avoided the Red Bull-supported driver, slotting back in behind her and ahead of Pin.

However, Bustamante would soon be noted for a possible false start, with the McLaren junior eventually getting penalised with a 5-second time penalty on Lap 7. That same lap, Pin would overtake Bustamante for 5th going into T4 and Amna Al Qubaisi would overtake Aurelia Nobels into T5 on Lap 9.

Up ahead, Hamda Al Qubaisi started to pressure Nerea Martí for 3rd whilst also defending from Pin behind. The Emirati driver would eventually get past Martí down the main straight at the start of Lap 12, and then start a late charge on Pulling for 2nd going into the final laps of the race.

Amna Al Qubaisi would get past a struggling Jess Edgar into T5 and up into her final finishing position of 12th. Hamda’s late charge wouldn’t amount to an overtake, but her finishing position of 3rd would give the Emirati driver her first podium of the season. Bustamante would cross the line in 6th but would be narrowly demoted to 7th and behind Lia Block after her time penalty was applied.

Hamda Al Qubaisi being congratulated by Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner after the race | Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Academy drivers’ standings top 10

  1. Abbi Pulling (Alpine/Rodin) – 127
  2. Doriane Pin (Mercedes/Prema) – 71
  3. Chloe Chambers (Haas/Campos) – 55
  4. Nerea Martí (Tommy Hilfiger/Campos) – 51
  5. Maya Weug (Ferrari/Prema) – 51
  6. Bianca Bustamante (McLaren/ART) – 51
  7. Hamda Al Qubaisi (Red Bull/MP) – 40
  8. Jessica Edgar (American Express/Rodin) – 22
  9. Amna Al Qubaisi (RB/MP) – 12
  10. Tina Hausmann (Aston Martin/Prema) – 10

F1 Academy teams’ standings

  1. Rodin Motorsport – 176
  2. Campos Racing – 153
  3. Prema Racing – 146
  4. MP Motorsport – 76
  5. ART Grand Prix – 73

F1 Academy will visit Zandvoort for Round 4 after the summer break in support of the Dutch Grand Prix.

Header image credit: F1 Academy

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