Hamda Al Qubaisi claims best Italian F4 result with P9 in Monza race 3
Hamda Al Qubaisi capitalized on her pace and claimed her best result in the series after an outstanding performance in Monza third race.
It certainly had been a challenging weekend for up and coming Emirati driver Hamda Al Qubaisi: despite the 18-year old from Abu Dhabi had shown sufficient speed to battle among the front-runners, a series of unfortunate contacts prevented her to finish the previous Italian F4 races at the Temple of Speed in Monza.
A scary crash took her out of Saturday’s race - but more importantly she climbed out of the #88 Abu Dhabi Racing by Iron Lynx car unhurt.
On Sunday morning, the young lady knew she had a more challenging task ahead, as she started from P21 and in the middle of a very crowded and competitive F4 grid. Hamda had started to climb the order before another contact took her out at the First Chicane.
Starting again from a competitive position in Race 3 (P13), Al Qubaisi had a good start and moved up by one place coming into Turn 1, but then, as she opted for a cautious approach, she closed the first lap in P14.
Ahead, Gabriele Mini (Prema Powerteam) held the lead, but then started a battle with Andrea Rosso (Cram Motorsport) and Francesco Pizzi (Van Amersfoort Racing) - the three Italian drivers continuing a weekend-long fight for the top positions.
On the second lap, though, Rosso misjudged the braking point and crashed into the back of Mini, paving the way for a Pizzi’s leadership. Both cars retired, in what was a really unfortunate end of the weekend for two of the most promising Italian talents.
Pietro Delli Guanti followed closely in second place, as Leonardo Fornaroli (Iron Lynx) was also looking aggressive in third after a series of solid results in Monza.
Al Qubaisi moved up position after position and, with a clean run, advanced into eleventh place by lap 5.
She battled with Lorenzo Fluxa and, as soon as she found a way past the Spaniard, she pulled away and quickly caught up with the leading group.
When Axel Gnos went out at Lesmo 2, the first and only Safety Car of the race neutralized the action.
In the final minutes, a huge group of over 10 cars fought for the leading positions, with Francesco Pizzi visibly waving on the back-straight to break the tow from the aggressive Delli Guanti, Fornaroli, Montoya and the charging Bortoleto.
Finally, BVM Racing’s Delli Guanti went for the move around the outside of Parabolica and went into the lead in spectacular fashion. After starting from the back of the grid, both Bortoleto Oliveira and Beganovic caught up with the leaders and became a threat to Pizzi: they both passed the Van Amersfoort car and closed on Delli Guanti - who was starting to have engine issues.
On lap 9, Hamda Al Qubaisi broke into the top ten and, despite having to watch her mirrors from the return of Jesse Salmenautio, she could further advance into ninth place on lap 13 when Patterson made contact and went slightly wide into the gravel at the first chicane, before rejoining in eleventh place.
After another breath-taking final lap, Delli Guanti held on to take his maiden win in the championship - despite a smoking engine - ahead of Bortoleto, Fornaroli and Pizzi.
Hamda Al Qubaisi returned to the top-10 after the opening Red Bull Ring race, adding 2 points to her championship count. It was her best ever finish in the Italian F4 Championship powered by Abarth, equalling her 9th place finish at Hockenheim in her only ADAC Formula 4 Germany appearance.
“Finally!” - said a visibly radiant Hamda Al Qubaisi.
“Race 1 was horrible, race 2 even worst and then finally in race 3 I told myself to just have fun - I just wanted to do the best that I could and have fun.”, she told us after her breakthrough performance.
“And then finally it was a P9, my first one and best result I had so far. That was so emotional! Until the very last lap, that was crazy. I had one car right behind me and after the last restart it was very chaotic.”
“But after today I would like to thank the team for everything, my sponsors Strata, Abu Dhabi Racing, Kasperski.”
“Honestly it’s an amazing result, I think this will go down in history.”
The next round of the Italian F4 season will be held in Imola, on 20-22 November.