Home Featured Browning pips Mini to Macau pole in thrilling second qualifying session

Browning pips Mini to Macau pole in thrilling second qualifying session

by Ida Wood

Photo: Macau GP Organising Committee

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

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
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
8 Ugo Ugochukwu Trident 2m06.167s +0.732s 12
9 Mari Boya MP Motorsport 2m06.192s +0.757s 15
10 Pepe Marti Campos Racing 2m06.246s +0.811s 15
11 Richard Verschoor Trident 2m06.323s +0.888s 16
12 Dan Ticktum Carlin 2m06.460s +1.025s 17
13 Paul Aron Theodore Racing 2m06.475s +1.040s 14
14 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport 2m06.643s +1.208s 15
15 Zane Maloney Carlin 2m06.798s +1.363s 16
16 Sophia Floersch Van Amersfoort Racing 2m06.912s +1.477s 15
17 Charlie Wurz Jenzer Motorsport 2m07.219s +1.784s 14
18 Roman Stanek Trident 2m07.433s +1.998s 15
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