British rising star makes history in Bahrain

Monday 04 March 2024

British drivers excelled on what many will regard as the opening weekend of the 2024 international circuit racing season.  

Although defending champion Max Verstappen picked up where he left off before Christmas by winning the Bahrain Grand Prix, George Russell, Lando Norris and Sir Lewis Hamilton ensured there were three home grown talents in the top seven – a result unrivalled by any other nation. 

Raising hopes for the future, two promising young British drivers – both members of the Motorsport UK Academy – won the FIA Formula 3 races on the Bahrain GP bill. 

Arvid Lindblad, the youngest driver on the 2024 grid, made history when winning the first Sprint Race of the new F3 season. The Red Bull Junior started from fourth on the grid and bided his time in the early laps while others ahead scrambled fiercely for the lead. Lindblad, however, managed his tyres to perfection, picking off his rivals in the closing stages to take a maiden F3 victory at the first time of asking to become the youngest race winner in FIA F3 history at just 16 years, six months and 23 days of age.   

Making it two-out-of-two for British drivers, series returnee Luke Browning took a lights-to-flag victory in the first Feature Race of 2024 to claim his maiden Formula 3 race victory and with it an early lead in the Drivers’ Championship. 

“I’m obviously ecstatic,” said the 22-year-old member of the Williams Academy. “It’s nice to see all the hard work over the winter has paid off and I’m now looking forward to Melbourne!”.” 

Also in Bahrain Zak O’Sullivan – another beneficiary of the Williams Academy – upheld British honour in F2 finishing seventh in the opening Sprint Race and then an even more competitive fourth in the longer Feature Race.  

Battle is rejoined this weekend in Jeddah where both Motorsport UK Academy graduate Oliver Bearman and Team UK member Taylor Barnard will be hoping to make up lost ground after failing to open their respective accounts in Bahrain. 

While the 2024 F1 campaign commenced in Bahrain, the FIA World Endurance Championship kicked off in Qatar. The new-look series has attracted an incredible line-up of Hypercars and a star-studded roster of drivers including Jenson Button and Valentino Rossi.  

After nearly 10 hours of action, Porsche clinched its first victory of the Hypercar era with the official factory backed Penske Motorsport entry taking the laurels. Porsche swept the podium positions, too, with the privately-entered Hertz Team Jota 963 fending off the second of the Penske Porsches, to take second place by a single second. With Callum Ilott and Will Stevens sharing the runner-up Jota entry alongside Norman Nato, there were two British drivers among the nine Porsche pilots on the podium.  

Round two of the season moves to Europe as the revitalised World Championship prepares for its first ever WEC race at Imola in Italy (20-21 April). With the WEC in such rude health it will be well worth the wait, too!