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Bianca Bustamante Wins First Podium With McLaren

Filipina driver Bianca Bustamante claimed her maiden podium of the 2024 F1 Academy season, culminating a successful weekend for the Papaya Orange.
Bianca Bustamante
James Francisco

Filipina racing driver Bianca Bustamante claims her first podium for McLaren ART Grand Prix, with a second-place finish in the second race of F1 Academy’s Miami International Autodrome weekend last May 3-5, 2024. Bustamante is now fifth in the standings after four races—one point behind Haas Campos Racing's Chloe Chambers.

 YouTube: beIN SPORTS Asia

Following complications in the first leg that resulted in a ninth position, she notched second in the qualifiers which translated favorably down the stretch of the succeeding race.

Bustamante managed to secure the front of the grid for the entirety of the contest. However, Mercedes PREMA Racing driver Doriane Pin attempted to tighten the gap in the final remaining laps, bringing the interval between second and third place to less than a second. 

With Pin closely glued to her tail, the Laguna-born racer’s Papaya Orange challenger maintained its pace and utilized the slipstream to her advantage to pull away. She finished nearly four seconds behind the current leader, Alpine Rodin Motorsport’s Abbi Pulling, and recorded 21 points throughout two races.

Instagram: @racerbia

Recording her first F1 Academy podium for her constructor and as a McLaren Development Driver, Bustamante took her takeaways from the race on social media, motioning her gratitude to ART Grand Prix for the “faultless” weekend, the “amazing car,” and extended her congratulations to fellow F1 McLaren driver Lando Norris for his first grand prix win.

“…Mega thank you to ART Grand Prix for an amazing car. They were faultless this weekend, so much more to work and show for the rest of the season…And of course, Lando Norris’ first-ever win. Can't believe I got to experience it in person and live this amazing moment with my papaya family,” she wrote.

“This has been the best day of my life so far. Thank you to everyone,” she added.

Bustamante now looks to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya weekend on June 21-23, 2024 as the next chapter of her seven-race calendar.

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