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F1 Academy: Jessica Edgar tops second practice

18-year-old Jessica Edgar has topped the second F1 Academy practice session at Circuit of the Americas, three tenths clear of championship leader Marta Garcia ahead of the final qualifying of the season.

F1 Academy starting grid, Le Castellet 2023
Photo credits: Racers - Behind the Helmet

18-year-old Jessica Edgar has topped the second F1 Academy practice session at Circuit of the Americas, three tenths clear of championship leader Marta Garcia, albeit on a different tyre strategy. The afternoon session saw several drivers alternating at the front, but Prema's Garcia continued to remain in control of her championship rivals.

MP Motorsport's Emely de Heus and Hamda Al Qubaisi were the first to set a timed lap - already in the 2:10s, as temperatures increased and rubber was laid down by the F1 first practice earlier in the day. The Emirati sisters topped the leaderboard after the second run, but Abbi Pulling found almost half a second and set a 2:09.707 ten minutes into the session.

Marta Garcia and Nerea Marti - who had run at the top in the morning session - returned to the front, with Pulling slotting in between the Valencian drivers. Nerea, though, set two purple sectors and snatched first but had her time disallowed for track limits.

Championship contenders Al Qubaisi and Buhler climbed the order but couldn't do better than fourth and fifth - around half a second from their title rival Garcia.

While she had initially her best lap deleted, Bustamante managed to slot in sixth, ahead of Abbi Pulling, with 20 minutes to go.

Hamda did improve to second, although her lap was later deleted. Jessica Edgar, on the other hand, ded get to keep her lap and was the closest driver to Prema's Marta Garcia, when the red flag was out with 15 minutes to go. Nerea Marti had in fact come to a halt with suspension damage, likely from a kerb hit.

Once the Mercantile Campos Racing car was retrieved behind the barriers, the session resumed with 9 minutes to go: Edgar went out on a new set of tyres - having also attempted a different strategy in FP1. After an out-inlap, Edgar attempted a qualifying simulation: a purple sector one was followed by another fastest sector two and three, which put the 18 year old British driver in P1, with a new benchmark of 2:08.510.

Edgar improved again on the following run, finishing three tenths ahead of points' leader Marta Garcia - who did not run on a new set of tyres.

Lola Lovinfosse had a great final lap as well, which put the Frenchwoman in third - before her lap was cancelled for track limits. Similarly, Hamda Al Qubaisi also lost her best lap.

Despite sitting out the final minutes of the session, Nerea Marti therefore held third and preceded Hamda Al Qubaisi and Emely de Heus - who improved significantly from the morning's session - and Léna Buhler.

Abbi Pulling was seventh fastest and, unlike her teammate Edgar, did not attempt a final push lap.

Again well within the top ten, Chloe Chong is looking particularly promising at COTA: the youngest driver on the grid ran in seventh in the closing minutes, before picking up slight front wing damage and had to abort her final push lap, ending eighth.

Chong finished ahead of Prema Racing's teammate Bianca Bustamante, ninth, with one second covering the top-10 of the field.

Chloe Grant was knocking on the top-five doors in FP1 but was left in tenth place in FP2, a little over one second from the front-runners. Megan Gilkes followed, ahead of Lola Lovinfosse, Amna Al Qubaisi, Carrie Schreiner and Maite Caceres. The Uruguayan had a few laps disallowed, but still improved by over half a second from her best time in FP1.

Qualifying is next, as the first four points of the weekend are set to be assigned later today. Q1 will set the grid for the first 30 minute race and for the top-8 reverse grid race, while Q2 will shape the grid for Sunday's race 3. Qualifying will go green at 17:30 local time.



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