Hitech GP’s Luke Browning took pole for the Macau Grand Prix qualification race in a thrilling second qualifying session.
Prema repeated its Q1 strategy with its Theodore Racing-branded cars by keeping its drivers in the pits for the first two minutes of the session before releasing them into clean air.
It was an ineffective strategy this time, but everybody got caught out as red flags waved 3m52s into the session due to Nikola Tsolov – whose ART Grand Prix team had released him unsafely from the pits – crashing out at turn 17.
Several minutes passed before a recovery crew could reach his car, and the session clock was paused during a red flag period that lasted over 15 minutes.
Campos Racing’s Pepe Marti and his team-mates in the pitlane’s fast lane had to avoid the car of Jenzer Motorsport’s Max Esterson, who had wanted to pull into the fast lane, at the restart and MP Motorsport’s Boya was head of the queue once again while Prema sent out Mini – who was on provisional pole after topping Q1 – straight away.
Marti got shown the black-and-orange flag once he left the pits, while Boya laid down a 2m07.530s benchmark. His team-mates Dennis Hauger and Marcus Armstrong immediately beat him, as did Hitech’s Isack Hadjar and Browning who went top with a 2m06.827s.
The next group of cars to come through could not match their pace, with Trident’s defending FIA Formula 3 World Cup winner Richard Verschoor going fourth fastest and 0.499s slower than Browning. Theodore’s Dino Beganovic and Mini slotted into eighth and ninth.
Those who were free of traffic improved on their next lap, and Armstrong and Hauger went one-two with 2m06.072s and 2m06.643s laps respectively.
Depite having to overtake cars in tricky places, Mini and team-mate Paul Aron went third and fourth.
Verschoor got into second place with 2m06.393s set almost 14 minutes into the session, with Hadjar and Dunne also beating Hauger.
Two minutes Armstrong went to the top, and second on the grid due to Mini’s Q1 time, with a 2m05.732s. On the next laps the order changed again, with Browning going second on the timesheet with a 2m06.005s. Campos’s Oliver Goethe went third fastest, ahead of Hadjar, Verschoor, Beganovic and Aron who all improved.
Everyone then pitted, with the second runs on new tyres starting with 15 of the session’s 40 minutes left to go. But nobody got to a set a lap as Isack Hadjar spun then Campos’s Sebastian Montoya stopped at the Melco hairpin.
Red flags waved with 11m38s left on the clock, and after a six-and-a-half minute stoppage the session resumed.
A lock-up prevented Armstrong from improving on his first lap back out, while Browning took provisional pole with a 2m05.435s. Dunne improved in fourth, then Beganovic went second fastest with a 2m05.435s. Trident’s Ugo Ugochukwu was another to make an impressive improvement to eighth, but on his next lap he crashed and Armstrong stopped on track.
The outcome was red flags with five minutes to go, and Mini and Hadjar snuck into second and fourth just before the stoppage, with Mini 0.006s off Browning’s pace.
Qualifying restarted eight-and-a-half minutes later, and MP’s drivers were first out. But with 28s to go the session was ended after Hadjar crashed, with nobody having set laps, and it secured his team-mate pole.
Hauger was 14th fastest but his Q1 time puts him seventh on the grid, and Tsolov’s Q1 time put him 15th after not setting a lap in Q2.
Qualifying 2 results
|1||Luke Browning||Hitech GP||2m05.435s||16|
|2||Gabriele Mini||Theodore Racing||2m05.441s||+0.006s||15|
|3||Dino Beganovic||Theodore Racing||2m05.518s||+0.083s||15|
|4||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||2m05.557s||+0.122s||14|
|5||Marcus Armstrong||MP Motorsport||2m05.732s||+0.297s||13|
|6||Alex Dunne||Hitech GP||2m05.755s||+0.320s||16|
|7||Oliver Goethe||Campos Racing||2m06.092s||+0.657s||15|
|9||Mari Boya||MP Motorsport||2m06.192s||+0.757s||15|
|10||Pepe Marti||Campos Racing||2m06.246s||+0.811s||15|
|13||Paul Aron||Theodore Racing||2m06.475s||+1.040s||14|
|14||Dennis Hauger||MP Motorsport||2m06.643s||+1.208s||15|
|16||Sophia Floersch||Van Amersfoort Racing||2m06.912s||+1.477s||15|
|17||Charlie Wurz||Jenzer Motorsport||2m07.219s||+1.784s||14|
|19||Noel Leon||Van Amersfoort Racing||2m07.504s||+2.069s||15|
|20||Max Esterson||Jenzer Motorsport||2m07.507s||+2.072s||16|
|21||Laurens van Hoepen||ART Grand Prix||2m07.540s||+2.105s||16|
|22||Sebastian Montoya||Campos Racing||2m07.656s||+2.221s||15|
|23||Christian Mansell||ART Grand Prix||2m08.049s||+2.614s||15|
|24||Matias Zagazeta||Jenzer Motorsport||2m08.489s||+3.054s||14|
|25||Tommy Smith||Van Amersfoort Racing||2m10.226s||+4.791s||14|
|26||Nikola Tsolov||ART Grand Prix||no time||1|