ART Grand Prix’s Léna Bühler bounced back after a retirement in Race 1 yesterday to secure her maiden F1 Academy win in dominant style in Race 3 in Barcelona.
The Swiss driver never looked under any pressure as she executed a perfect launch off the line to stay clear of MP Motorsport’s Hamda Al Qubaisi and Series leader Marta García on Lap 1.
Meanwhile, just behind, Abbi Pulling was locked in a battle with Amna Al Qubaisi to keep hold of P4 after being momentarily overtaken by the Emirati at the first corner, but reclaiming it a few turns later.
With Buhler pushing further and further away from the pack, the action intensified further down the field as Campos Racing’s Lola Lovinfosse, the biggest mover in Race 1 and Race 2, overtook the #14 PREMA Racing of Bianca Bustamante before setting her sights on home favourite Nerea Martí.
Lovinfosse dived down the inside and made her move into P8 past the Spaniard, before Marti fought back, but was unable to get around the outside. With Buhler continuing to push up front, it was clear that she was determined to collect the 25 points on offer for the race win following her retirement on Saturday afternoon.
In the meantime, the #2 Campos racer continued her ascent up the field overtaking Canadian Megan Gilkes into Turn 1 on Lap 9, moving up to seventh before beginning to cut down the gap to the MP Motorsport duo of Race 1 winner Emely de Heus and Race 2 winner A. Al Qubaisi.
Now in a three-way scrap, Lovinfosse went to pass de Heus on Lap 11, but couldn’t make the move stick. The French driver would get another chance on Lap 14, as she moved down the inside of Turn 1 and held her line into Turn 2 to move up to sixth place.
A. Al Qubaisi was next on the list for Lovinfosse, but the overtake was not needed as the Emirati driver was given a five-second penalty for track limits, promoting Lovinfosse to P5.
But the day would be one to live long in the memory for Lena Buhler, who having finished on podium three times already this season, was able to stand on the top step and claim her first win of the season ahead of H. Al Qubaisi and Series leader García.
Winner’s Quote – Léna Bühler
“I am really happy with the result today. I am bit disappointed with the weekend because I should have won yesterday after my issue. It is difficult to accept to lose a lot of points like this, but I need to keep pushing and I am looking forward to the next race.”
As it stands
With three podiums this weekend, the first driver to achieve such a feat in F1 Academy, García extends her lead at the top of the Drivers’ standings this weekend to 41 points.
Meanwhile, MP Motorsport is now leading the Teams’ Standings with 207 points after two wins across the weekend. PREMA Racing remains close behind the Dutch outfit on 203 points.
Teams and Drivers will take time to reset and prepare before heading to MotorLand Aragón for two days of testing on the 13th and 14th of June.