Jessica Hawkins, a motorsports star, is no stranger to breaking down societal barriers.
Hawkins, 28, was a stunt driver in the James Bond film No Time To Die and a former British karting champion.
Last week, though, she smashed another door by becoming the first woman to test an F1 car in over a decade.
Aston Martin confirmed Hawkins was granted the opportunity to drive their 2021 F1 car at the Hungaroring, the site of F1’s Hungarian Grand Prix, last Thursday.
Hawkins shared the driving duties with Felipe Drugovich, the 2022 F2 champion and reserve driver for Aston Martin and McLaren.
The British driver completed 26 circuits in the F1 car and was at a loss for words afterward.
On the opportunity, Hawkins said: “I want to say a big thank you to everyone at AMF1 Team for having the trust in me, believing in me, and for giving me this opportunity.
“It’s taken me every bit of blood, sweat and tears to get here. When I first heard it might be a possibility, I could hardly believe it.
“I’ve had to keep it secret for months now – which was pretty hard!
“It’s been absolutely worth it and it’s given me really valuable insight.
“Nothing will compare to the acceleration and braking of a Formula 1 car and, having looked at the data, I’m really proud of my performance.
“Getting to drive the AMR21 has been a dream come true for me and one I’ve been ready to fulfil for a long time.
“I’ll keep pushing for more and, in the process, I want to inspire other women and let them know they should follow their dream no matter what it is.”
Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack was also pleased with how Hawkins had done.
He said: “We were really impressed by Jessica’s preparation for the test – she worked incredibly hard with our simulator team and that made it an easy decision to put her in the AMR21.
“Jessica approached the opportunity with great maturity; she was up to speed quickly and found a nice rhythm.”
The latest woman to drive an F1 car was Colombian Tatiana Calderon in October 2018 with Sauber – now Alfa Romeo – at the Hermanos Rodriguez track in Mexico City.
Susie Wolff, the wife of Mercedes team principal Toto, was the last woman to compete in an F1 practice session in 2015, when she took part in a session.
The last time a female driver started an F1 race was in 1976, when Lella Lombardi of Italy raced for RAM Racing.
However, barriers are being knocked down, albeit slowly.
Sophia Floersch, a German F3 driver, became the first woman to gain points in the championship at the Belgian feature race.
Hawkins has been practicing in the AMR21 prior to her opportunity.