Amna Al Qubaisi was satisfied to make a return to the points in Race 1 but is believes there’s still more to come as she looks to iron out mistakes in Race 2.

The RB driver seemed to be overcoming her Qualifying difficulties on Saturday morning, initially having the pace for a top 10 start in the first phase of the session. However, the clear track ahead of her proved to be a hinderance rather than a help, denying her the benefits of the slipstream.

Forced to settle for P14 on the grid for the opening race, Al Qubaisi said she was pleased to have carved her way through to P8 and to have gotten four more points on the board.

“I felt really good,” she said. “In the first part of Qualifying with the first new sets, we were P7. But then on the second set, I basically drove alone and didn’t really have the slipstream as much as everybody else had slipstream. So, it was a setback back for me and it was P14 on the grid.

“I moved into Race 1 just saying ‘I have nothing to lose, more to gain’. From there on, I just started pushing and fighting up to P8. We were really close with P7, just right behind (Jessica) Edgar. For Race 2, it’s just about minimising fighting and try to work with other drivers.”

However, she admitted that the potential was there for more if she had raced more tactically. Engaging in a two-lap battle with Bianca Bustamante, the pair went side-by-side, with the McLaren driver emerging out just ahead.

Amma Al Qubaisi fought all the way to the end finishing just a tenth behind Jessica Edgar
Amma Al Qubaisi fought all the way to the end, finishing just a tenth behind Jessica Edgar

Learning from her experiences, Al Qubaisi believes it would have been more advantageous for her to not fight with the ART Grand Prix car — which was the quickest out on track. Instead, she’ll be aiming to use the tow to help drive her forward, whilst saving some life in her Pirelli tyres.

“With Bianca, I wasted so much time fighting her and I think it would have been even smarter if I had just let her pass early on and try to follow through to catch up to Jess. I would have overtaken Jess earlier.”

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“My pace is there. I went faster than Quali, which explains a lot. The pace is there, the speed it there. I wasn’t meant to be part of the back of the grid, but it is what it is and we move on to tomorrow to do the same or even better.”

Going again from P14 in Race 2, Al Qubaisi is optimistic about her chances of pulling off another fightback up the order, but knows she needs an error-free race to make it work.

“I would say to minimise mistakes,” she noted. “I had a lot of mistakes trying to catch up to Edgar, which cost me a lap to overtake. So, it’s just to minimise mistakes, try not to stress the tyres and try to move forward. What’s possible would be P7 or P8. In Jeddah, I made it to P6, so anything’s possible.”