Hamda Al Qubaisi P12 in her best Italian F4 qualifying
Despite missing out on an achievable top six, Hamda Al Qubaisi had her best Italian F4 qualifying of the year in an incident-filled session at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. The Emirati racing talent will start P12 in Race 1 and will target another top ten finish.
In a finally sunny and warmer Monza, Italian F4 Champiosnhip powered by Abarth held its tow qualifying session at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza - one of the most historic and iconic motor racing venues in the world.
Among the huge field of almost 30 cars is Hamda Al Qubaisi, 18-year old Emirati driver that is among the brightest female prospects in single-seaters after a really impressive full rookie season in the very competitive Italian championship.
After an outstanding practice session in dry conditions on Friday, Hamda showed again pace to be in the top-6 during the first qualifying session. With 5 minutes left on the clock, the driver of the #88 Abu Dhabi Racing by Iron Lynx car was fourth on the timesheets, before a red flag came out for the stricken car of Sebastian Ogaard.
Hamda dropped to P12 and could not do better than 1:55.534 in the final flying lap after tyres had likely lost the optimal temperature. She will thus start the first race of the Monza weekend from the sixth row.
“I think Q1 went well, I just had a lock up in the last sector. It could have been a P6 easily, but I messed up with all the chaos happening. With the red flags and the Full-Course Yellows you really only have one lap, so if you mess that lap up, you’ve messed up everything. But P12 was good.”
Ahead, it was an Italian lock-out, with Francesco Pizzi claiming pole position for Van Amersfoort Racing ahead of Leonardo Fornaroli (Iron Lynx), Andrea Rosso (Cram Competition) and Gabriele Minì in the first of the Prema cars. Gabriel Bortoleto was fifth and preceded Lorenzo Patrese, in a notable sixth place at his only second F4 race.
The second qualifying session revealed to be even more chaotic, as both Patrese and Chinese driver Han Cenyu brought out more red flags in the 15-minute session.
When the green flag was back waving, it was the usual Monza qualifying madness, with cars searching for the best slipstream and messy traffic jams - ultimately preventing Hamda from setting a single competitive lap.
“In Q2 again there were red flags and Full-Course Yellows, I barely got a lap in the one that I wanted to get in, I was in first gear on the clutch in Parabolica and as soon as I turned in, I even didn’t have the time to react to that. Again, a mistake by me, I’ll learn from it and do better for Race 1.”
“I’ll start in P12, that’s the best qualifying I did so far, I’ll look at that for the positives. I know I can do better - I showed it yesterday with P8 without even the slipstream. I think I just messed up a bit of the chances I had to do a P6 or P5 maybe. But it’s ok, we have the race coming up soon, I think what I need to do is just get through the first corner, because with all these drivers in the chicane, the first corner might be a mess.”
“So, I’d say get out alive with the car from turn 1 and make sure I keep the pace. I know I have the pace, I’ll try to catch and make positions - maybe again with a top ten finish.”
Andrea Rosso claimed pole position for Race 2, edging Gabriele Mini by 0.076 seconds. Pizzi will start alongside Filip Ugran on the second row, while Leonardo Fornaroli had another great session for Iron Lynx as he could get the slipstream from the Prema cars directly in front of him.
The first race of the Italian F4 will see the green light at 15:15 CEST.