The second round of the 2023 F1 Academy series witnessed a historic moment as Filipina racing driver Bianca Bustamante secured her maiden victory in Race 2.
This is also the first time the Philippine national anthem, Bayang Magiliw, was played during a professional podium ceremony. 18-year-old Bianca, racing in the #16 PREMA, had an exceptional weekend in Valencia, showcasing her impressive skills and determination.
Bustamante began her weekend with excellent performances in both Free Practice sessions and continued her form into Qualifying, setting faster lap times each time around the 4km Grand Prix circuit. However, despite securing P2 and P5 in both race grid-setting sessions respectively, she was later classified P8 in Q1 and P13 in Q2 due to post-session lap time deletions caused by track limit infringements.
Despite the setback, Bustamante demonstrated her pace and made her way up the grid to P5 by the end of Race 1. She then started Race 2 in pole position, demonstrating her ability to get off the line quickly, which led her to take the lead right from Turn 1 on the first lap.
She maintained her position despite immense pressure from her competitors, eventually taking the chequered flag to become an F1 Academy race winner.
In Race 3, starting from P13, Bustamante made up six positions over the course of 17 laps, finishing in P7, taking her total points tally from the weekend to 26. Her strong performances over the weekend solidified her position in the championship, currently sitting in P6 of the Drivers Standings, with PREMA Racing leading the Teams Standings.
Bustamante's achievement was met with overwhelming support from her fans and supporters in the Philippines, who expressed their pride and joy on social media. As the series moves to Barcelona for Round 3, scheduled from 19 to 21 May, Bustamante will be looking to continue her strong momentum and extend her string of strong performances.
Fans can stay updated on the upcoming F1 Academy races by referring to the official F1 Academy website.