F4 Italy: Hamda Al Qubaisi finishes P25 after late contact in Mugello race 2
Hamda Al Qubaisi made further improvements on her race pace in another very tricky mixed-condition second race at Mugello, despite being hit in the final stages of the race while battling for the top-20.
After a wet-weather contested first race in Mugello, the second heat at the Tuscan race venue was also declared wet following heavy showers that influenced the Formula Regional race on Sunday morning.
Starting from P25, Hamda Al Qubaisi has been protagonist of a learning weekend, as the 18-year old Emirati racer targeted clean races under mixed conditions. The Abu Dhabi Racing driver, in fact, is in her first full Italian Formula 4 championship season and has very little experience under the rain, a condition not very common in her home country.
The Safety Car led the field at the green flag and the action could only start on the third lap given the tricky grip levels. Poleman Bortoleto Oliveira preceded Prema Powerteam’s teammates Gabriele Mini and Dino Beganovic, with Francesco Simonazzi (BVM Racing) in fourth.
It was Mini, though, to immediately find a way around Bortoleto and to advance into first place into Turn 4.
A series of collisions saw several drivers ending up in the gravel - the vast majority of them managing to rejoin the race: Salmenautio and Braschi made contact soon after the restart, with Chovanec ending up kissing the barriers after a scrap with Ogaard.
Al Qubaisi had a positive start of her race and could make up positions until she reached P20. Always in battling groups, she moved up to 19th at one point, before the driver of the #88 Iron Lynx car started to defend hard from a group of fast drivers behind her.
Mini and Bortoleto kept fighting for the top of the classify, while Beganovic was passed by Andrea Rosso - the latter coming under investigation for a restart infringement.
More battles animated the field: a train from 5th to 8th placed drivers led another crowded group featuring Delli Guanti, Montoya, Crawford and Fornaroli.
With eight minutes left, Bortoleto Oliveira attacked and passed Mini after a prolonged side-by-side battle, which restored the starting positions between the leading Premas. This allowed Race 1 winner Andrea Rosso to close in on the duo, but the Italian then received a 10-second time penalty that dropped him out of contention for a back-to-back victory.
in the closing laps, Hamda Al Qubaisi - who had again contested a very clean race without mistakes, was hit on the left side by Bhaitech’s Chovanek at Turn 3. The Czech-Venezuelan driver was stranded in the gravel, while Hamda could continue, despite picking up some damages and dropping to P25.
In slightly less eventful final stages of the race, Edgar overtook Ugran for fifth place, while the top 4 positions remained unchanged: Bortoleto Oliveira completed yet another impressive race to take victory, ahead of Mini and Beganovic, the latter advancing to a podium position after Rosso’s penalty.
Thanks to his bigger gap to Edgar, Cram Motorsport’s driver Rosso could however maintain P4.
Hamda Al Qubaisi was P25 and finished as she started another mixed-weather conditions race at Mugello despite her contact.
“I think it’s a big improvement from yesterday, I was fighting in P18 and P19, until someone hit me off the track. I was doing well that far until I got hit off, but I’m still happy about my improvements. It’s a big step from yesterday, when I was five or six second off the fastest, while today I’m only 2.5 seconds off.”
“It’s a big improvement and I’m learning a lot in the wet conditions, but again, it’s frustrating when you’re fighting for a decent position and you get hit off. But it’s racing, it happens, I’m just gonna accept it and move forward for Race 3.”
“I think it’ll be better for Race 3, I hope it’s gonna be dry - if it will, then It’ll be good for me!”
The lady from Abu Dhabi will have one more chance to further extend her experience this afternoon, as F4 cars will hit again the track for the third and final race of the weekend at 16:40 CEST.