PREMA Powerteam experienced a memorable run in the second round of the 2021 Italian Formula 4 Championship at Misano, as the Adriatic venue became a perfect frame for two spectacular first-time results.
In race 1, Hamda Al Qubaisi scored her maiden podium finish in the series. After taking off well from P5, the 18-year-old from the Emirates gained two spots and successfully defended her position for the full distance, becoming the highest-finishing female racer in the history of the series. A positive qualifying performance enabled her to end up with P9 and more points in race 3 after a long fight for the top-5.
Sebastian Montoya also had his first taste of the rostrum. The 16-year-old Colombian-American scored second place in race 2 with a hard-fought performance that included a stunning late move for P2. In race 3, he then wrapped up the weekend with a third place.
Kirill Smal brought home three points finishes, including two fourth places. The Russian faced troubled starts in the two opening races and had to go for bold recoveries. In race 1, he survived contact to take P9 before scoring P4 in race 2 and 3.
Conrad Laursen had the toughest luck after missing the collective test session at Misano due to his Paul Ricard injury. The 15-year-old Dane finished race 1 in P18 before being involved in contacts in both race 2 and 3.
#6 - Sebastian Montoya
"The podium feels amazing. I would have preferred to have it a bit before but it's better now than never. The collective tests went really good, we knew we had the speed. In free practice, we were very fast again and I was in the top-5 in all conditions. In Q1 there was a mistake on my side, then in Q2 we did the best we could and in Race 1 there was another mistake on my side but we still scored a bunch of points for the championship. Then in race 2 and 3 we got to the podium. It feels great. Thank you so much to the team, and let's move on to the next one!"
#7 - Kirill Smal
"Overall it was a positive weekend. We managed to take pole in the first qualifying session and a double P4 in the second, with good hopes for the races. We struggled with the starts in both race 1 and 2, but the speed was always there. In the last race, we managed to finally make a normal start, but I was a bit struggling with the car balance. This weekend we just didn't put it all together in the races, but we know we are quick and we can use what we learned in the future rounds."
#20 - Conrad Laursen
"Being out of the test due to my broken finger put me on the back foot which led to qualifying being a bit difficult and that eventually led to the whole weekend being difficult. I think it's a matter of getting a better qualifying. We learned that it's very important because once you're in the back, you're in traffic and there are a lot of messy situations going on."
#88 - Hamda Al Qubaisi
"What an amazing feeling! I got my first podium, and it was quite unexpected. Obviously, I knew I had the pace and I could reach the top-3, but it is a dream come true for me. I had been chasing a podium in Europe since last year, and to finally get it takes a big weight off my shoulders. Race 2 didn't go as planned due to a mistake of mine, even though I had the pace to stay in the top-5. I learned from it, and for race 3 today I was in P7 the whole time until the safety car. I didn't have a perfect restart and lost a couple of positions in the last lap, but again it was a learning experience. I got some good points and coming from the opening round, which was quite difficult, it's a great confidence boost and a motivation for the upcoming races."