The Macau Grand Prix is of course a two-race event, but this year the fight to win the FIA Formula 3 World Cup truly got split into two.
Hitech GP’s Luke Browning led through two virtual safety car periods in the nine laps completed before a 54-minute stoppage, and although the race’s remaining six laps were completed the safety car came out three laps from the finish.
“When I got out of the car, I thought ‘how many restarts? How many times am I going to have to fight off into Lisboa?’,” said Browning after taking victory, which was secured at the restart in a battle at Lisboa against Dennis Hauger and Gabriele Mini.
“It wasn’t easy [at Lisboa]. I broke as late as possible. Not scared to say I had all four wheels right at the locking point next to Dennis going in. It was tight. When we come here, it brings great racing and it’s a great spectacle to watch, and just as great to drive.
“The motivation was so there, I was so ready, it wasn’t too difficult [to jump back in for the restart]. But turn 14 was super slippy, there was some dust down [and] sand I think for the oil down on track, and that was super slippy. So I thought ‘ooo’, the first push lap was a bit hairy through there. I thought ‘maybe the next time I won’t go in so hard’.”
The Williams junior said “words cannot describe” how it felt to win, but he tried anyway.
“To win on this level against this grid is properly humbling. I’m super grateful to be here, I just thoroughly enjoyed being out there. Big thank you to the organisation, thank you to the FIA, to F3 for putting this on. For a young guy driving around in fast cars, this is an absolute dream, so very much enjoyed it.”
“It’s inarguably, alongside the Autosport BRDC Award, the biggest achievement of my career to date. It’s thoroughly humbling to put my name on that list,” a touched Browning said. “It feels surreal.
“But every time I’m getting in the car at this point I’m pinching myself. I think most racing drivers, especially from the background that I’m from – I’m lucky to be here in the first place, but when the career starts to ramp up and I’m driving on these sorts of circuits with the professional people around me against the best drivers in the world and succeeding at, words can’t describe. I’m a happy boy.”
Browning also praised Hitech for a car that was “absolutely phenomenal” since lap one of practice.
“The Hitech car just felt so comfortable to push. The grip was there, and it was confidence-inducing for me to get in. Being a rookie it’s not easy here, so you’ve got to have the right equipment, in any motorsport you’ve got to be in the right car. And this weekend I was in the right car, and nice to make the most of it.”