F1 Academy 2023: Round 3 Review - Barcelona

F1 Academy 2023: Round 3 Barcelona Review

May 21, 2023

A strong weekend in Barcelona from Marta García saw her increase her Championship lead from Hamda Al Qubaisi, while ART Grand Prix’s Léna Bühler secured her first F1 Academy win, which saw her rise up the Drivers’ Standings as well.

Race 1

The first race in Barcelona saw Emely de Heus lead off the line, but she was quickly overtaken by Léna Bühler in the first corner. The MP Motorsport pole-sitter managed to hold on to second place after an early tussle with teammate Hamda Al Qubaisi, who had gone past Abbi Pulling.

While De Heus and Bühler were battling for P1, Hamda was putting in the fastest laps. Unfortunately, she had to retire due to a technical issue.

It seemed like Bühler would take the win, after she had built up a gap of over three seconds with only three laps to go, but she suffered a mechanical issue that saw her pull up at the side of the track, allowing De Heus to inherit the lead, with Pulling and Marta García in the podium places.

The final two laps saw Bianca Bustamante and García involved in an all-out battle for P3, and Bustamante almost caught García, but the Spaniard held on to keep the final podium place. De Heus went on to secure her first win of the season and the third win for MP Motorsport. 

Race 2

The second race saw Campos Racing’s pole-sitter Nerea Martí get overtaken in the first lap by MP Motorsport’s Amna Al Qubaisi. Amna and Martí quickly established almost a second and a half’s worth of gap between themselves and the rest of the grid.

Further down the grid, Pulling also had a stellar start and was up to P4 from P6, with Bühler behind her and García ahead of her, holding the final podium place. Amna’s sister and teammate Hamda, meanwhile, had fallen from P4 to P6, after going off the track on Lap 4 after trying to overtake Bühler on the straights. 

Towards the latter stages of the race, Martí seemed to be nursing an issue on her car, which saw García overtake her for the second place, while Pulling, Bühler and Hamda also overtook the Campos racer, with Martí eventually finishing P6.

Up ahead, it was a comfortable win for Amna, who won her second race of the season, with García in second place ahead of Pulling in P3.

Race 3

The final race in Barcelona saw Bühler lead off the line as Hamda pressured her from second place. García—who was behind her—and Hamda kept exchanging the fastest lap every other lap.

Further down the grid, Campos Racing’s Lola Lovinfosse and Nerea Martí were involved in a tussle, which saw the French racer overtake her teammate for P8. Lovinfosse wasn’t stopping there, though, as a lap later she went past Megan Gilkes for P7.

While there was a tense battle going on in the midfield, Bühler led Hamda up ahead, with the Swiss driver having opened up a three-and-a-half-second gap by Lap 14. She ultimately held on and took her first win of the season, with Hamda finishing P2 ahead of García in the final podium place.

Following the end of Round 3 in Barcelona of the inaugural F1 Academy season, it is Marta García leading the Championship with 135 points, with Hamda Al Qubaisi in second with 94 points. Léna Bühler’s win sees her leapfrog Abbi Pulling and Amna Al Qubaisi to third place. Pulling lies fourth with 77 points, while Amna is fifth in the Championship with 72 points, with Nerea Martí hot on her heels with 70 points. 

The team standings see MP Motorsport in first place with 207 points, while PREMA Racing’s strong weekend has them just four points behind MP Motorsport in second place. ART Grand Prix and Rodin Carlin are third and fourth, respectively, with 120 points each, while Campos Racing lie fifth with 95 points.

The teams now take a month-long break before racing resumes in Zandvoort, the Netherlands, on June 23 for Round 4 of F1 Academy 2023.

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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