F1 Academy 2023: Honours shared at second round in Valencia

May 7, 2023

The second round of the inaugural F1 Academy series saw three different drivers take the win in Valencia, Spain. It was Hamda Al Qubaisi who won Race 1, while Bianca Bustamante took her first race win in the series in Race 2. Marta García rounded out the final day with a win in Race 3. 

Also read: F1 Academy: Teams and drivers

Hamda Al Qubaisi got a brilliant start for the first race, taking an early lead from pole-sitter Nerea Martí of Campos Racing heading into Turn 1. After taking the lead of the race, the MP Motorsport racer drove a calm and composed race to take her first win of the season. Martí eventually finished P2, more than seven seconds behind Hamda, while ART Grand Prix’s Lena Bühler secured the final podium place. While Hamda kept her lead in front, it was a proper scrap in the midfield as the likes of Chloe Grant, Amna Al Qubaisi, Marta García, Megan Gilkes, Bianca Bustamante and Jessica Edgar all battled it out for the high-scoring points places.  

Race 2 had PREMA Racing’s Bianca Bustamante convert her pole position into a win. There was action right from the start as the opening lap had MP Motorsport’s Emely de Heus and Carrie Schreiner coming together, with the former having to retire after ending up in the gravel. Bustamante’s teammate Chloe Chong, who started P2, lost her place in the opening lap to Bühler. Once the Safety Car came in after the incident involving the two MP Motorsport racers, it was Marta García who had the best restart as she made up six places. Hamda Al Qubaisi was also having a strong race and was up to P3 after starting P7, having overtaken teammate and sister Amna Al Qubaisi. Up ahead, Bustamante kept the charging ART GP of Bühler at bay and took her first F1 Academy race win, with Bühler finishing second ahead of Hamda. 

The final race of the weekend saw Marta García lead the grid as she sped off the line. While she was building a lead in the front of the field, further down, Jessica Edgar, Lola Lovinfosse, Amna Al Qubaisi and Hamda Al Qubaisi were scrapping it out in the midfield. Up ahead, García was comfortable keeping her compatriot Nerea Martí at bay. The race saw its first Safety Car with four laps to go, as Campos Racing’s Lovinfosse spun out, leaving García, Martí, Abbi Pulling, Bühler and Chloe Grant in the top five, in that order. As racing resumed, Martí pressed García hard for the lead, with the pole-sitter pulling out all the defensive moves to keep her at bay. As García and Martí fought for the win up top, Pulling and Bühler battled hard for the final podium place. The final lap saw more drama, as Chloe Chong and Megan Gilkes spun onto the gravel while trying to get past each other. García, though, held her own to take the win, holding off Martí, while Pulling managed to keep Bühler at bay for the final podium place. 

With the second round over, Marta García’s win keeps her at the top of the Drivers’ Standings with 96 points, while Hamda Al Qubaisi lies second with 71 points. Nerea Martí is third in the Championship Standings. with Lena Bühler close behind Martí, trailing by a mere three points.

PREMA Racing, meanwhile, lead the Constructors’ Standings, with MP Motorsport in second. 

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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