Williams junior Luke Browning won the Macau Grand Prix qualification race to earn first place on the grid for tomorrow’s main race.
Gabriele Mini tucked in behind poleman Browning at the start, but then drew alongside on the approach to Mandarin. He stayed on Browning’s outside all the way to Lisboa, where Browning had to move to the inside a little more to avoid Alex Dunne – who had started sixth – from attempting a pass too.
Browning was already out of DRS range by sector three (with DRS enabled on lap two in Macau), while those in the midfield lost time due to extra yellow flags at the Melco hairpin after Marcus Armstrong and Matias Zagazeta stopped there. Both managed to get going again without losing a lap.
There was a 1.882-second gap between the top two at the end of lap one, and Dunne had to cover off Dino Beganovic into Lisboa before the race was put under virtual safety car conditions. Ugo Ugochukwu had cut the kerbs at Lisboa then gone into the barriers, which also sent Dan Ticktum into retirement.
The real safety car was called out later in the lap, and racing resumed on lap five of 10 after Ugochukwu and Ticktum’s cars had been craned away.
Browning weaved on the run to Mandarin to try to break the tow, but Mini got on his outside and Dunne on the inside approaching Lisboa. Dunne took second place into the corner, but was 1.434s behind Browning by the end of the lap.
Beganovic tried to stay close to the podium trio and pulled away from fifth-placed Dennis Hauger, while just behind Paul Aron made progress by passing Isack Hadjar, who then got overtaken by Pepe Marti and Mari Boya into Lisboa on lap six.
Browning set the fastest lap on lap seven to maintain his lead at 1.328s. Another fastest lap next time by, despite the lack of a slipstream to benefit from, brought the gap up to 1.5s.
He went into the final lap 1.749s ahead of Hitech GP team-mate Dunne, and grew that gap to 2.097s at the chequered flag.
Mini was a further 2.3s behind, with Beganovic and Hauger holding position while Boya passed Aron late on for sixth.
Further back Charlie Wurz held off repeated attacks from the reigning FIA Formula 3 World Cup winner Richard Verschoor to finish 11th, and Armstrong passed Tommy Smith to finish 22nd.
Qualification race results (10 laps)
|1||Luke Browning||Hitech GP||26m52.318s|
|2||Alex Dunne||Hitech GP||+2.097s|
|3||Gabriele Mini||Theodore Racing||+4.441s|
|4||Dino Beganovic||Theodore Racing||+5.339s|
|5||Dennis Hauger||MP Motorsport||+10.936s|
|6||Mari Boya||MP Motorsport||+13.082s|
|7||Paul Aron||Theodore Racing||+13.877s|
|8||Pepe Marti||Campos Racing||+17.224s|
|9||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||+17.648s|
|11||Charlie Wurz||Jenzer Motorsport||+20.946s|
|13||Nikola Tsolov||ART Grand Prix||+22.390s|
|14||Laurens van Hoepen||ART Grand Prix||+24.804s|
|15||Sophia Floersch||Van Amersfoort Racing||+25.505s|
|16||Max Esterson||Jenzer Motorsport||+26.184s|
|17||Noel Leon||Van Amersfoort Racing||+26.610s|
|18||Sebastian Montoya||Campos Racing||+27.535s|
|20||Christian Mansell||ART Grand Prix||+28.896s|
|21||Oliver Goethe||Campos Racing||+29.894s|
|22||Marcus Armstrong||MP Motorsport||+30.515s|
|23||Tommy Smith||Van Amersfoort Racing||+34.908s|
|24||Matias Zagazeta||Jenzer Motorsport||+37.750s|
|Fastest lap: Lindblad, 2m24.791s|