Amna Al Qubaisi takes lights to flag victory in F1 Academy race 2
Amna Al Qubaisi took a comfortable win in F1 Academy race 2 at Red Bull Ring, securing her second win of her career in F4
Having been promoted to eighth in qualifying 1 yesterday evening, MP Motorsport’s Amna Al Qubaisi lined up on pole position for race 2 on Saturday, in the series first ever round.
Al Qubaisi shared the front row with Lola Lovinfosse, as the sun made its appearance on the Austrian track. At lights out, Al Qubaisi sprinted away and was never challenged by her rivals.
Behind her, Léna Bühler (ART GP) had a better launch and managed to get around turn 1 ahead of Lovinfosse.
Nerea Martí – who finished second in race 1, but was later disqualified – soon moved up to fourth. But the start of the day went to Hamda Al Qubaisi, who charged from last to eight on the first lap, after a technical issue had hampered her qualifying.
The early favourites on the eve of the championship, Marta García and Abbi Pulling, found themselves battling in ninth and tenth.
After the first lap, Chloe Grant unfortunately had to retire for a technical problem.
From the second lap onwards, Hamda Al Qubaisi showed why she is currently the most successful female driver in the history of Formula 4: the Emirati passed Bustamante on lap 2 and immediately started to put pressure on Carrie Schreiner. García and Pulling, though, we’re right behind her, looking for an opportunity to gain positions.
Bustamante made a mistake under braking at turn 3 and went deep, but could luckily avoid her teammate’s car just ahead. The Filipina, though, had lost a place to Abbi Pulling as well.
Hamda found a way past Schreiner – who was eventually overtaken also by García and Pulling – and soon leapfrogged de Heus as well, after a good but clean battle with her teammate.
Ahead, Amna Al Qubaisi had checked out, opening a safe margin of over 4 seconds to Léna Bühler. Lola Lovinfosse was also settled in third and, as the clock ticked down, the two battles on track saw Hamda Al Qubaisi catching Nerea Martí for fourth and the trio of Marta García, Abbi Pulling and Bianca Bustamante.
After 30 minutes of racing, Amna Al Qubaisi crossed the finish line and claimed a dominant win in race 2 – the second of her career in F4, after notably winning the 2019 Trophy Round in F4 UAE at Abu Dhabi.
Al Qubaisi also signed the fastest lap of the race, in 1:32.123.
She was joined on the podium by Léna Bühler – at her first podium in formulas – and Lola Lovinfosse.
Nerea Marti held on to fourth, as Hamda Al Qubaisi was fifth in a remarkable recovery. Emely de Heus, Marta García and Abbi Pulling rounded out the top-8, which will score points in the shorter race 2.
Bustamante and Schreiner finished in the top 10, with Edgar – who was promoted to third in race 1 – was one place ahead of her Rodin Carlin teammate Megan Gilkes.
In P13, Maite Caceres made big improvements after each session; the Uruguayan had her weekend hampered by a testing crash on Thursday and, with very limited running in qualifying, where she effectively learned the track in the rain - is progressively closing the gap.
After a great debut in race 1, where she was classified in P6, Chloe Chong had a trickier race 2 and ended with a track limit penalty.
The third and final race of the Austrian season opener will get underway at 17:20 local time.
Hamda Al Qubaisi was disappointed with ninth after a spectacular charge; she was promoted to P9 after a five second penalty for Lola Lovinfosse, deemed at fault for a contact at turn 3.
Chloe Grant and Maite Caceres rounded out the finishers, just outside the point scoring positions.
The second race will get underway at 14:05.