Alice Powell claims victory in Hungary after a start-to-finish lead. (Photo: Alice Powell/Twitter)

Alice Powell achieved a lights-to-flag victory as Jamie Chadwick made her way through the pack charging from P5 to P2 in the sixth race of the W Series season.

Powell was Chadwick’s main rival last season after winning three races and being on the podium five times.

“It’s so good to be back on the top step,” Powell said.

“It’s taken longer this season than I would have liked, but to get Bristol Street Motors there with their first win in the championship is amazing.

“Every single person on my car has done an incredible job, so a big thank you to the team.”

After qualifying on the front row, Beitske Visser went on to claim the final spot on the podium for the second time this year.

“It’s amazing to be back on the podium and to see so many Dutch fans here. It was a very good race and I’m very happy to be back up here,” she said.

“We were on wet set-up whereas the top two were on dry set-up, so early on I was quick but then the track dried and it didn’t work out.

“But my pace has been good all weekend and I’m looking forward to carrying this into Singapore and the rest of the races. If I can continue this progress, I’ll have a strong end to the year.”

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With imminent rain threatening qualifying, it was Alice Powell who nabbed her third ever pole position with a time of 1:42.986s – it was her first pole since Silverstone last year.

Powell’s stunning last lap meant she finished four spots ahead of defending champion Chadwick who didn’t have as much luck, qualifying in fifth place after being unable to improve with her final lap.

A late collision between Bianca Bustamante and Bruna Tomaselli at turn 12 caused yellow flags and halted movement on track.

Visser was disappointed with the outcome of qualifying as she held provisional pole for the most part before yellow flags, ending up in P2 on the starting grid.

Chadwick’s closest rival in the championship Abbi Pulling joined the third row in sixth ahead of Spaniard Belen Garcia.

The Race

Heavy rains came down on the Hungaroring in Budapest before the race, which resulted in a rolling safety car start.

All the drivers started on slick tyres but struggled to find grip in the mixed track conditions.

On the formation lap, Nerea Marti dropped the ball, skidding off the track and barely missing the barrier; the incident caused Marta Garcia to be promoted to fourth spot.

As expected, on the opening laps of the race Chadwick continued to show off her talent, making her way from P5 to P2 ultimately.

Quantfury Racing teammates, Garcia and Marti made contact in the early stages of the race resulting in Marti being pushed off the track.

This caused Marti to tumble down the ranks to finish the race in P12, but Garcia held strong in P4.

Wheel-to-wheel racing between Emma Kimilainen and Jessica Hawkins caused a collision later in the race, resulting in yet another safety car with Kimilainen going on to DNF.

Bianca Bustamante also got caught up in the debris from the crash, making her DNF from damage caused to her car.

Powell continued to keep her cool despite being under pressure from the start to finish, first from Visser then from Chadwick.

In the final laps of the race, the safety car left the track and allowed for Chadwick to try and catch up with Powell. She was too strong on the final circuit and took the well-deserved victory after a mammoth effort.

Pulling, Wolwend, Moore, Eaton, Noda and Tomaselli made up the rest of the top 10 points.

With Japan’s Juju Noda being named driver of the day for her stunning performance starting P16 and finishing P9 for her first points finish of the season.

A visit from Sir Lewis Hamilton in the W Series paddock

The seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton met with drivers from the W Series on Friday to discuss their racing experiences since the formation of the competition in 2019.

“I’ve been following the W Series for the last few years, and I’ve been trying to get down there because I’ve been wanting to meet the inspirational women,” Hamilton said in a post-qualifying interview.

“I’ve been watching the races in between sessions. Today I watched the race. So I wanted to get down there.”

As pioneer for increasing diversity in the motor sporting community, Hamilton criticised the lack of progression from W Series to F3 and beyond.

“It’s great that we have the W Series, but we as a sport need to do way more for young girls getting into the sport, and for these women,” he said.

“There’s no progression from the W Series… when you win that, do you get a seat in F2, or whatever it may be? We can definitely do a lot more to support these girls.”

Chadwick added that she can’t progress beyond the W Series due to a lack of budget, despite winning the competition twice.

“The next step is still four times the budget I have. It’s still not the easiest so we haven’t been able to confirm a programme just yet,” she said.

The women of the W Series were thrilled to meet their idol and have the opportunity to speak to the former world champion.

Catch Round Six of the W Series take on the Singapore Grand Prix for the first time, from September 30-October 2.

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