Home Featured Mini leads Browning again in first qualifying session for Macau GP

Mini leads Browning again in first qualifying session for Macau GP

by Ida Wood

Photo: Macau GP Organising Committee

Theodore Racing’s Gabriele Mini was the driver to beat in the first qualifying session for the Macau Grand Prix.

Several teams got themselves ready to get into the pitlane’s fast lane before the session began to get further ahead in the queue, but not all.

Campos Racing and Jenzer Motorsport, who were fined following practice for refuelling infringements, were among those to rush onto track while Van Amersfoort Racing and Theodore Racing (the entry name for Prema) waited for a gap before sending their drivers out in the hope for clean air. That would initially prove costly.

MP Motorsport’s drivers were first to set laps, with Mari Boya putting down a 2m27.693s five-and-a-half minutes into the 40-minute session. His team-mate Marcus Armstrong immediately beat him with a 2m27.312s, then Jenzer’s Charlie Wurz snuck in a 2m27.167s before red flags waved due to Campos’s Sebastian Montoya crashing at Lisboa.

The only drivers without laptimes after seven minutes were Theodore’s trio and VAR’s Sophia Floersch and Tommy Smith.

There was a five-minute stoppage, and Theodore’s drivers stayed in the pits longer than the rest again – along with Rodin Carlin’s Zane Maloney – when action resumed.

Hitech GP’s Luke Browning was first to set a flying lap after and despite sliding at Fisherman’s Bend went fastest with a 2m07.668s. Armstrong improved to 2m08.534s, and team-mate Dennis Hauger went third with a 2m08.634s before Wurz crossed the line with a 2m08.601s.

Free practice pacesetter Mini was next to the top the times, beating Browning by 0.069s. Red flags then waved due to Trident’s Ugo Ugochukwu stopping in the Lisboa run-off.

The session clock was paused (with 14 minutes having already passed) during the seven-minute stoppage as Ugochukwu reversed back onto track then drove to the pits.

Everyone improved on their first flying laps back out, with Boya, Maloney and then Campos’s Oliver Goethe briefly holding third before Wurz started the session’s second half by going top with a 2m07.353s.

Mini went fastest 20s later with a 2m06.929s, putting him 0.323s ahead of team-mate Dino Beganovic and 0.34s ahead of Armstrong. Browning dropped to fifth, having not left the pits.

Traffic compromised a lot of drivers on their next laps, but Hauger was still able to go second fastest. He was 0.801s off Mini though, as he improved to 2m06.410s.

Trident’s defending FIA Formula 3 World Cup winner Richard Verschoor reduced Mini’s pace advantage to 0.654s, went fastest in sector one on his next lap but then backed out of it.

Browning only left the pits with 13 minutes to go, by which point he was 10th, and had just started a flying lap three minutes later when red flags waved after Maloney hit the barriers then stopped at turn 16 with a damaged car.

This stoppage lasted 17 minutes due to “repair required” on barriers, and there was 9m46s left of qualifying when it resumed. Theodore held back their cars for longer once again.

Browning jumped up to fourth with four-and-a-half minutes to go, as Hauger got within 0.254s of Mini’s benchmark. On his next lap Browning went top with a 2m06.018s, with team-mates Alex Dunne and Isack Hadjar 0.14s and 0.663s behind respectively in second and fifth.

Hauger and Carlin’s Dan Ticktum were first to complete laps after the chequered flag and went second and seventh fastest, although ART Grand Prix’s Nikola Tsolov then beat Ticktum.

Mini improved to 2m05.521s to reclaim first place and Beganovic got into third before going off at Lisboa, with Ticktum shuffled down to 10th by Goethe.

Qualifying 1 results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Gabriele Mini Theodore Racing 2m05.521s 16
2 Luke Browning Hitech GP 2m06.018s +0.497s 13
3 Dino Beganovic Theodore Racing 2m06.131s +0.610s 17
4 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport 2m06.135s +0.614s 17
5 Alex Dunne Hitech GP 2m06.158s +0.637s 15
6 Isack Hadjar Hitech GP 2m06.364s +0.843s 15
7 Marcus Armstrong MP Motorsport 2m06.714s +1.193s 17
8 Nikola Tsolov ART Grand Prix 2m06.755s +1.234s 16
9 Oliver Goethe Campos Racing 2m06.834s +1.313s 17
10 Dan Ticktum Carlin 2m06.985s +1.464s 16
11 Richard Verschoor Trident 2m07.064s +1.543s 16
12 Paul Aron Theodore Racing 2m07.108s +1.587s 15
13 Charlie Wurz Jenzer Motorsport 2m07.353s +1.832s 16
14 Noel Leon Van Amersfoort Racing 2m07.368s +1.847s 17
15 Roman Stanek Trident 2m07.570s +2.049s 17
16 Zane Maloney Carlin 2m07.834s +2.313s 11
17 Mari Boya MP Motorsport 2m07.946s +2.425s 17
18 Pepe Marti Campos Racing 2m08.034s +2.513s 17
19 Ugo Ugochukwu Trident 2m08.280s +2.759s 16
20 Christian Mansell ART Grand Prix 2m08.329s +2.808s 17
21 Max Esterson Jenzer Motorsport 2m08.429s +2.908s 16
22 Laurens van Hoepen ART Grand Prix 2m08.651s +3.130s 16
23 Matias Zagazeta Jenzer Motorsport 2m08.769s +3.248s 13
24 Sophia Floersch Van Amersfoort Racing 2m08.966s +3.445s 16
25 Tommy Smith Van Amersfoort Racing 2m09.071s +3.550s 15
26 Sebastian Montoya Campos Racing 2m44.434s +38.913s 2