Italian F4: Hamda Al Qubaisi shines in Monza Friday practice
As soon as the sun made its way through the Monza Park, 18-year old Emirati talent Hamda Al Qubaisi emerged in the second Italian F4 practice session, finishing the opening day in eighth place without slipstream and despite a late trip to the gravel.
The home of the Italian GP hosts this weekend's fifth round of the Italian F4 Championship, as Hamda Al Qubaisi (Abu Dhabi Racing by Iron Lynx) returns to the track where she had one out of the two starts in the super-competitive Italian series last year.
After once again a wet and chilly start this morning, Hamda was P24 in the first practice session. But the sun was back shining on the young Emirati racer in FP2: Hamda spent most of the 40-minute session in the top ten and, with 10 minutes to go, she sat comfortably in seventh place.
In the final minutes, Hamda had a trip to the gravel at Lesmo 1 which prevented her from improving her position on the last set of tyres, but she finished P8 after an impressive performance.
“It was great!” - she said after her final Friday session. “When they told me that I was P7, I was a bit surprised - I was like: ‘me?’
“At the end I went off at Lesmo 1, but still it was very good and without a slipstream, which is promising for tomorrow”.
Hamda, who had her first top-10 in her full rookie season in the Italian F4 Championship at the Red Bull Ring earlier this year, continued to show remarkable pace in dry conditions in Monza.
“I like conditions like this, I hope it stays like this” - she commented. With a sunnier and warmer Saturday forecasted for tomorrow, Hamda Al Qubaisi will again target a point-scoring position in tomorrow’s Race 1.
The first practice session was topped by Jenzer’s Filip Ugran, with a 2:08.371 lap.
Gabriele Mini was the first of the Prema Powerteam drivers in second, ahead of Gabriel Bortoleto Oliveira and Dino Beganovic, respectively third and fourth, while Sebastian Montoya was fifth, just behind Francesco Pizzi (Van Amersfoort Racing).
In the afternoon, Mini went on top and preceded Ugran by only 0.095 seconds, while Beganovic and Pizzi - third and fourth on the timesheets - could not lap under the 1:54 mark.
The session was briefly red flagged mid-way through, after Jasin Ferati went off in the gravel.
The Formula 4 cars will hit the track again tomorrow at 09:50 CEST for the first qualifying session.