Tipped to be one of the closest rounds of the year, Round 3 of the 2024 F1 ACADEMY season undoubtedly delivered a blockbuster weekend of action.

Under the Spanish sun, Abbi Pulling remained the driver to beat as she strengthened her hold on the lead of the Drivers’ Standings, whilst Chloe Chambers and Nerea Martí threw Campos Racing firmly into the title mix. Let’s take a look at how our 15 drivers fared in points haul order as the mid-season mark quickly approaches.

1. Abbi Pulling – 48 points

For the third consecutive round, Abbi Pulling finished top of the order, bagging 48 out of the 56 points on the table. However, she didn’t have it all her own way in Barcelona. After going fastest in Practice, a nip-and-tuck fight with Chambers in Qualifying saw the Alpine driver emerge on pole for both races by less than a tenth.

Race 1 saw her pull off another racing masterclass, finishing a comfortable 4.7s clear. Yet she was left disappointed post-Race 2 after being unable to convert her fourth pole into a lights-to-flag victory. Struggling with degradation and oversteer, Pulling had her hands full trying to maintain position drifting through the high-speed corners.

One win and a P2 have gifted her a 66-point lead and helped Rodin Motorsport take control of the Teams’ Standings. A visit to Zandvoort with British F4 in July should give a boost to her preparations, as she’ll look to continue chipping away that gap to the pack behind.

2. Chloe Chambers – 41 points

Chloe Chambers stole the headlines in Round 3, as she stepped into the spotlight as F1 ACADEMY’s newest race winner. Buoyed by her maiden podium in Miami, the Haas driver seemed to have put all the pieces together this time around.

Blisteringly quick one-lap pace earned her two front row spots, but she was overhauled by Campos Racing teammate Martí off the line in Race 1. Learning from her mistakes, Chambers got “the best start of my life” in Race 2 to dive past Pulling. In race trim, she was unmatched and an error-free performance saw her claim the most dominant win this season so far.

Chambers scored hers and Campos Racings first win of the 2024 campaign
Chambers scored hers and Campos Racing's first win of the 2024 campaign

Throwing down the gauntlet to the rest of the leading contenders, the American moves up to third in the Standings, tied with Doriane Pin on 81 points. If she keeps up performances like this, she could be right on Pulling’s heels before too long.

3. Nerea Martí – 30 points

It was a case of home sweet home for Nerea Martí and Campos Racing. Enjoying her most consistent round of the year yet, the boost from her compatriots clearly paid off as the Tommy Hilfiger driver seized her chance in Race 1 to move past Chambers and held firm in second.

Following this up with a P4 finish in Race 2 after battling heavy tyre degradation, the Spaniard moves up to fourth in the Drivers’ Standings. With two podiums in the book, she’ll be wanting to end her winning drought in Zandvoort and return to the top step for the first time since Race 1 in Paul Ricard last year.

READ MORE: 'I hope more young girls can live what I have lived' - A weekend in the life of an F1 ACADEMY Career Discovery Programme student

4. Hamda Al Qubaisi – 25 points

Back in her element, Hamda Al Qubaisi secured her first podium in Red Bull Racing colours. Unable to make the performance jump on the second set of tyres in Qualifying left the Emirati racer in P7 and P5, a few places further back than the potential her pace had.

Gaining two places in Race 1, Hamda Al Qubaisi couldn’t quite make up ground on those ahead, but she and MP Motorsport seemed to have gotten a grip on the setup for Race 2. A decisive move on Martí elevated her on to the podium, and she steered clear of a risky move on Pulling for second.

Looking to be back at the level expected of her after 2023’s success, she sits sixth in the Standings on 92 points. Is it too late for her to mount a title challenge? Well, a repeat of her double win in Zandvoort would go a long way to help her cause.

5. Bianca Bustamante – 18 points

Matching Pulling’s session-topping time in Practice, Bianca Bustamante set herself up to be one of the leading challengers in Barcelona. However, that pace failed to translate into Qualifying, as she lined up on the third and fourth rows.

Coming just short of a podium in Race 1, a five-second penalty for a false start on Sunday derailed her race. Unable to find her way past the train of cars ahead, the McLaren driver had to settle for P7.

One of five drivers to have scored points in every race this year, Bustamante need to challenge for podiums on a more regular basis if she wants to hold on to her spot inside the top five.

A podium finish remained just out of reach for Bustamante in Race 1
A podium finish remained just out of reach for Bustamante in Race 1

6. Doriane Pin – 16 points

Doriane Pin likely left Barcelona with more questions than answers. Returning to action following a fractured rib injury was a personal win for the Mercedes driver, but she was unable to come close to scoring one on track.

Lacking the pace on Qualifying to start on the front row, a mistake at the start of Race 1 saw her tumble from P4 to the back of the pack. The fastest car on track for most of running, she pulled off a remarkable recovery drive to P7. Race 2’s getaway was also less than ideal, although it only knocked her back three places. Pin’s tyres tailed off before she could catch up to the podium-contending trio and her P5 finish was damage limitation for her title chances.

Resuming her FRECA campaign should hopefully give her a chance to get back into the groove we saw in Jeddah, but she can ill-afford mistakes like the poor starts if she hopes to bridge the 66-point title gap.

7. Emely De Heus – 9 points

Could Barcelona be the site of a repeat resurgence for Emely De Heus after 2023’s turnaround? The Red Bull Ford driver will be hoping so after finally getting off the mark this season. Lining up in P11 for both races, she was flying in Race 1 and fended off Pin to take sixth.

READ MORE: Hamda Al Qubaisi’s Barcelona Weekend Round-Up: Getting into a battle spirit

Race 2 didn’t meet those heights, with limited overtaking opportunities leaving her stuck in a train for most of the race and De Heus admitted she was wanting more than nine points from one of her strongest circuits. Her home track beckons after the summer break and she and MP Motorsport will be hard at work to keep their progression going and put the Dutch tricolour back on the podium.

8. Lia Block – 9 points

Lia Block’s on the up and if there’s been one weekend that shows the strides she’s made in a relatively short space of time, it’s this one. On a weekend where her ART Grand Prix teammates Bustamante and Aurelia Nobels faced their own challenges, the Williams driver flourished.

The Spanish circuit placed Block on a more equal playing field to her fellow rookies, thanks to her experience there during pre-season testing, and that familiarity quickly played out across the sessions. Fifth in Practice was followed up by two personal best Qualifying results in P8 and P6. Locked in a race-long battle with Tina Hausmann on Saturday, the American crossed the line in 10th.

Race 2 was free of the rookie errors that marred Jeddah and Miami. Fending off Hausmann and dispatching Jessica Edgar, Block closed in on the 5-second penalty window to Bustamante ahead and was promoted to her best result yet in P6. Three consecutive points finishes have put her two points off the top 10. Her upwards trajectory stands her in good stead to increase her tally even more on her return to Zandvoort.

Block will be hunting for more after securing a double points haul in Round 3
Block will be hunting for more after securing a double points haul in Round 3

9. Tina Hausmann – 6 points

The chequered flag was a welcome sight for Tina Hausmann after two opening lap eliminations in Miami. A rocky Practice saw her 1.3s off the pace. Starting “basically from zero” in Qualifying, she and the PREMA Racing team got on top of the issues as she earned her highest starting position yet in sixth, but admitted there was at least two tenths still to be found.

A technical issue hampered her chances in Race 1, but she still managed to convert her slot into points in ninth. Whilst the risk of rain plagued Race 2, the Aston Martin driver remained focused on the present in trying to save her tyres. Finishing in eighth, Hausmann’s solid weekend proves she’s got all the tools at her disposal but needs a bit more track time to enhance her understanding of the Pirelli rubber and setup.

10. Jessica Edgar – 4 points

Glimpses of promise ultimately ended in a weekend of frustration for Jessica Edgar. Two P9 starts set her up nicely to climb her way up the points. Unfortunately, Race 1 went downhill at lights out after she was penalised for a false start. Finishing P6 on the road, the 5-second penalty knocked her down to P8.

READ MORE: RACE DEBRIEF: How Chambers’ ‘best start of her life’ set her up for Barcelona Race 2 domination

Another penalty in Race 2 for leaving the track and gaining an advantage on the opening lap weakened the American Express driver’s quest for points. Grappling with heavy tyre degradation, her race unravelled as she couldn’t keep them in the window and dropped from P9 to P15 in the space two laps to the end. A race winner in the final event of last season, Edgar needs an Austin-esque weekend in Zandvoort if she wants to turn the story of her sophomore campaign around.

11. Lola Lovinfosse – 2 points

Another driver on the backfoot in Barcelona thanks to an injury, Lola Lovinfosse felt she had the pace to contend for a top five result. However, without the level of preparation she would have liked, the Charlotte Tilbury driver had to manage her expectations.

Unable to gel with the setup, Lovinfosse’s recovery meant her focus in Practice was more on getting herself ready rather than making the tweaks needed to maximise her pace. Nevertheless, she qualified inside the top 10 for both races and executed a clean weekend, timing her overtake on teammate Edgar for P9 on the last lap Race 2 perfectly. With two physically demanding tracks ahead of her, Lovinfosse will want to step up her game going forward.

12. Carrie Schreiner – 0 points

One of four drivers to walk away from the Spanish track empty handed, Carrie Schreiner didn’t make a big impression in Round 3. Qualifying P14 and P12 left the Kick Sauber driver with work to do, but she couldn’t get the overspeed on those around her to gamble on more overtakes.

Without clear air, the German driver found herself bogged down in the train of cars at the tail end of the top 10 in both races. 12th and 11th aren’t the best results on paper considering her experience around the track in both in-season testing and last year. Zandvoort could be a welcome change of scenery as the home of her maiden F1 ACADEMY victory and give her a pick-me-up after a disappointing time.

Schreiners Barcelona weekend had its challenges but the summer break will be a valuable time to reset
Schreiner's Barcelona weekend had its challenges, but the summer break will be a valuable time to reset

13. Amna Al Qubaisi – 0 points

After three fightbacks on the trot from outside the points to P8, Amna Al Qubaisi’s run inside the top 10 ended in Barcelona. Her pace in Practice looked decent in eighth, but her setup proved to not be quite right for Qualifying.

A lightning start in Race 1 boosted her from P13 to P8 on the opening lap, before her day came to a premature end after Maya Weug collided with the side of her RB-liveried car at Turn 5. The pace that she had on Saturday didn’t pull through into Race 2, with the Emirati racer finishing in P12. Although as a team, MP Motorsport seem to have turned a corner after their tough start to the season, Amna Al Qubaisi is still searching for a turning point of her own.

14. Aurelia Nobels – 0 points

It was a round to forget for the youngest driver on the grid Aurelia Nobels. Feeling comfortable around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from the get-go, her results ended up being a bitter pill to swallow.

Qualifying at the back of the pack in both races, the PUMA driver was lucky to avoid getting tangled up in the contact between Maya Weug and Amna Al Qubaisi. Unable to make inroads in either race, P13 and P14 results fell far below her expectations. With another chance to redeem herself after the summer break, the Brazilian racer needs a points boost sooner rather than later, having failed to score since the season opener in Jeddah.

15. Maya Weug – 0 points

Nothing seemed to click into place from the start of Maya Weug’s visit to Barcelona. Whilst her second home race would have brought her plenty of joy, her performances delivered only frustration.

It was immediately clear from Practice and Qualifying that the Ferrari driver lacked the pace to fight for the podiums she had done in the previous two rounds. Without a rhythm behind the wheel and unable to get a feel for the track, the weekend only seemed to get tougher, as she qualified in P12 and P13.

A mistake on the opening lap of Race 1 caused contact with Amna Al Qubaisi and beached the pair in the gravel, with the Dutch racer demoted to the back of the field for Race 2 courtesy of a five-place grid penalty. The absence of rain from Race 2 meant it was a quiet day’s work, in which she finished in 13th.

An uncharacteristic off-weekend for Weug, she will have to put it to the back of her mind quickly. With valuable time back at PREMA’s base to assess what went down, her task now will be to bounce back into the top five after dropping back to seventh in the Standings.