W Series finally returned this weekend in Styria for the first race of the 2021 season. Suffice to say, it didn’t disappoint – it was even more thrilling than the Formula 1 race! Here are all the key takeaways from the Red Bull Ring that you need to know.
Perfection from Alice Powell
Alice Powell put in a blinding performance all weekend long. She began as she meant to go on in Friday’s Practice session where she topped the timesheets. Her day got better when she went on to take Pole Position during a very tight qualifying session.
But the real test comes on race day – and Alice didn’t let it get the better of her. Controlling the race from the moment the lights went out, Powell drove smoothly and didn’t put a foot wrong. She mastered the race restart after a brief Safety Car period and continued conquering until she crossed the finish line. Oh, and she got the fastest lap of the race too.
Powell’s victory in Styria also gives her back-to-back victories, having won last time out with W Series back at Brands Hatch in 2019! There’s little else that could have gone her way to make this weekend perfect for her.
Challenges for Jamie Chadwick
Defending W Series champion, Jamie Chadwick, didn’t have the best weekend overall, but it should still be one she’s happy with. After qualifying out of place down in eighth, all eyes were on the Brit to weave up through the pack to the front come race day.
But a clash with compatriot Jessica Hawkins put her down the back of the field with a lot of catching up to do. However, Chadwick knows a thing or two about overtaking and, once up to speed, was able to slice her way nicely up through the pack to eventually finish in seventh place.
Whilst P7 is not what she would have been hoping for, Chadwick still got some decent points on the board. With a short season of only eight rounds, every point is crucial.
Good News for Garcia, Bad News for Garcia
There are two drivers on the W Series grid that share the same last name in 2021(they’re not related though). But their weekends were very different in the end.
After qualifying in third, rookie driver Belen Garcia kept close on the tail of Sarah Moore early on. But a mistake going into Turn 6 sent her off into the gravel. Fortunately, she was able to keep going and, by the end of the race, had recovered to fourth. An excellent result for a newcomer to W Series on debut.
Unfortunately, Marta Garcia didn’t have such a good weekend as she was forced to retire from the race. The Spaniard had been doing decently up to that point. She’ll be wanting to ensure that she bounces back next weekend when W Series goes racing once again.
History Made by Sarah Moore
When Sarah Moore crossed the finish line in second place, the British driver became the first openly LGBTQ+ driver to claim a spot on the podium during a Grand Prix weekend. Representation matters in motorsport – and this was a brilliant way to highlight it this weekend.
Aside from the history-making, Moore will be delighted with her ‘overperformance‘ (her post-race words, not ours) at the Styrian race. Whether or not she is a championship contender is too early to say, but it’s an extremely impressive start. And wasn’t her helmet looking on-point, too?
W Series Styria: Anything Else?
Quite frankly, yes! There was action up and down the grid throughout the race. I just highly recommend you go and watch the race highlights if you can. Some final notable mentions go to the following:
Fabienne Wohlwend deserves a big shout out for claiming the final place on the podium following a really strong drive from P9!
Irina Sidorkova, the youngest driver on the W Series grid (17 when they went racing on Saturday) scored her first points by finishing in eighth.
Beitske Visser and Emma Kimilainen, likely championship contenders, raced well but both finished outside of the points (which will be music to Jamie Chadwick’s ears).
Finally, Gosia Rdest deserves a mention after she finished the race in 9th after starting at the back in 18th – not bad for a race she wasn’t originally going to be taking part in!
Images: W Series