Felix Rosenqvist (Kashbet.com by Mücke Motorsport, 2:11s506) will be starting from pole position for tomorrow’s ten lap qualifying race for the 61st running of the Macau Grand Prix. In second qualifying, in which 17 of the first 20 drivers managed to set faster lap times than in yesterday’s first qualifying session, Rosenqvist moved up from his ninth place after yesterday’s session to the top of the time sheets and thus claimed pole position for the Macau qualifying race. “Early in the session, I did two laps, then came in to have four new tyres on the car, and I did my fast lap all on my own,” Rosenqvist reported. “In fact, I was quite surprised that the gap was so big. Indeed, the Swede was no less than 0s236 faster than Esteban Ocon (SJM Theodore Racing by Prema, 2:11s742), the reigning FIA Fórmula 3 European Champion. Just with Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing, 2:11s747), who was classified third after qualifying, Ocon will be dropped two places on the grid for tomorrow’s qualifying race for having failed to come in to have his car weighed in free practice yesterday.
As a result, Ocon and Verstappen will be starting from fourth and fifth place respectively. That promoted Lucas Auer (Mücke Motorsport, 2:11s838) to second on the grid alongside Rosenqvist to lock out the front row for the Mücke Motorsport team. Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 2:11s922), who was fastest in yesterday’s first qualifying and failed to post a faster time today, will be starting from third place.
Competing in the prestigious event in Macau for the fifth time, Rosenqvist clearly was the fastest driver at the 6.12 kilometres long Guia circuit on Friday. In the morning, he was first in free practice with 2:11s743, making him the only driver to post a sub-2:12 lap time. In second qualifying, the Swede doubled up by claiming pole position. The only blot on his copybook was a crash at Maternity in free practice in the lap after the one in which he set his fastest time. “That was quite stupid, also because I lost two tyres there, which is not very good for the weekend,” Rosenqvist admitted. “But being on pole position makes me quite confident for tomorrow and Sunday. We know that the speed is there”.
Second-fastest qualifyer Esteban Ocon commented: “Today, things were going much better than yesterday. We finally found the speed. Of course, it is a pity that I will be dropped two places, but I am still starting from the second row and we all know that you can overtake in Macau”. Ocon, who made an impressive Fórmula 3 debut with a top ten finish at Macau last year, is well aware of the significance of the event. “This is the one everybody wants to win, and the race so many great drivers have won in the past. It is the best race in the world”.
Third in qualifying and fifth on the grid, Max Verstappen is the best-placed Macau rookie. “The circuit is really cool,” the Dutchman commented. “Yesterday, I had some problems as the tyres started overheating, but today, I was a able to run faster and faster and I am quite pleased with the result”. Austrian Lucas Auer wasn’t too happy with his fourth fastest time: “I could have gone faster, but starting from the front row obviously is a good position and the performance of Felix and myself shows how strong we are as a team. Now, hopefully, we can convert that into good race results tomorrow and Sunday”. The qualifying race starts tomorrow at 13:45 hrs local time (6:45 hrs CET) and will determine the starting grid positions for the Sunday’s main race, the Suncity Group Fórmula 3 Macau Grand Prix.
Photos: FIA F3 Euro Series