Brits on top step in Barcelona

Monday 24 June 2024

With Lando Norris, Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell all chasing Max Verstappen home, there was much for British motorsport fans to cheer in Sunday’s pulsating Spanish Grand Prix. 

Even more so as two of this country’s brightest young prospects did stand on the top step of the Barcelona podium – Abbi Pulling extending her championship lead in the F1 Academy with a fourth consecutive victory and Arvid Lindblad becoming the first repeat winner in this year’s fiercely competitive FIA Formula 3 Championship. Both rising stars are Motorsport UK Academy members as Team UK athletes. 

Pulling was in a class of her own as she followed up victory in Saudi Arabia and a double in Miami with her fourth win of the campaign in the first of the two showdowns in Spain. The Alpine supported driver then finished runner-up in the second race and now enjoys a massive lead in the championship as the all-female series heads into a summer break before returning at Zandvoort in late August. 

Having also won in the ROKiT British F4 Championship, Pulling is becoming a standout inspiration for other young women in motorsport. It’s a significant role in breaking down barriers that she is clearly relishing.  

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after her latest success she said: “I’m so happy that I can be that person for young girls – I never had that female role model growing up so to have little girls coming up to me to say I’m their inspiration just puts a smile on my face. It’s heart-warming to see so many more young females coming into karting. It shows that the F1 Academy is doing its job; it’s increasing the numbers of girls coming into the sport and it’s a privilege to be a part of that.”    

At just 16, Lindblad is unquestionably one of the world’s premier young talents. After a stellar career in karting, he marked his card winning the F4 race on the streets of Macau last November and now is making a major impression in the FIA F3 Championship.   

The Red Bull Junior won the season’s opening Sprint Race in Bahrain and now has become the only driver to win two races in 2024 with a stirring victory in Barcelona’s Feature Race. Lindblad passed pole sitter Christian Mansell early on in Sunday’s race before going off into the distance to claim his second success of the campaign and become the youngest-ever winner of a FIA F3 Feature Race. 

“It has been a really positive season,” he enthused. “For me, every weekend I have done has been a step forwards. Now I have to take the learnings from this weekend and all the previous ones to the following races this year to try and keep improving and keep this momentum.” 

And, now in fourth place in the standings, he won’t have to wait long to keep the momentum going. The FIA F3 teams are back in action this weekend at Spielberg in Austria.