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Australia Australia
Race report
F3 Macau GP

Macau GP: Browning wins after race stopped by fiery crash

Williams Academy driver Luke Browning dominated the Macau Grand Prix on Sunday in a race that was interrupted by a fiery crash for Prema’s Paul Aron.

Browning proved supreme at both the original start and the late safety car restart, following a red flag for Aron’s incident, to stamp his authority on a race in which the Hitech driver never really looked properly threatened. 

With the race ending under a safety car, Browning came home ahead of Dennis Hauger and Gabriele Mini to secure the biggest race win of his career.

At the original start, Browning got away brilliantly from pole position and defended the inside line all the way down to Lisboa as Prema’s Mini tucked into his slipstream. 

As they braked for the tight right-hander, front row starter Alex Dunne moved to the left to try to get around the outside of Mini – but found himself on the wrong line and ran off into the tyre barriers.

Following a brief virtual safety car period, Browning pulled clear to end the opening lap more than one second clear as the main battle appeared to be behind him. 

Mini, who had a wild moment on cold tyres at Moorish Hill, was under attack from his team-mate Dino Beganovic – who slipstreamed past on the run down to Lisboa.

But Beganovic carried too much speed into the corner and, after locking up, ran wide into the tyre barriers, bringing out of the second VSC. 

The race quickly got going again and Browning, despite losing one second on that VSC lap, soon extended his advantage as he steadily pulled clear, with Mini running alone in second behind him. 

Hauger was the man on the move though, as he passed Prema’s Aron into third on the run to Lisboa on lap five, while Aron lost another place to Mari Boya a lap later. 

Aron found himself under attack from behind and on lap eight, going through the Solitude Esses, he crashed out, spearing off into the barriers – with his car breaking in half and erupting into flames.

While Aron was able to climb out of the car unaided, debris across the track and a badly damaged crash barrier prompted the red flag at the end of lap nine. 

The pursuing Pepi Marti and Charlie Wurz appeared to have got caught up in what happened, as both were left with damage.

Wurz, who braked to avoid getting involved in the incident, locked the rears and hit the barriers – damaging his front wing and gearbox, which put him out of the restart. Marti had front wing damage but was able to make the restart.

Following a 55-minute delay to repair the barriers, the restart on lap 12 saw Browning again perfectly control his getaway as Mini came under pressure from Hauger behind him.

Hauger managed to draft past Mini on the run to Lisboa, and briefly ran side-by-side with Browning before tucking into second.

But the Norwegian driver appeared to have little to counter Browning’s stunning pace, the Williams junior having been supreme on cold tyres all day. 

Mini’s bid to recover the runner-up spot was also dashed at the end of the lap when the safety car was called out again following a crash involving Nikola Tsolov at Fisherman’s Bend.

With insufficient time to clear the stranded car, the race ended under yellows.

With Browning, Hauger and Mini taking the top three spots, Mari Boya came home in fourth, ahead of Marti and Richard Verschoor.

Isack Hadjar, Zane Maloney, Oliver Goethe and Laurens van Hoepen made up the top 10, while Dan Ticktum recovered from the back of the field to finish 13th.

FIA F3 World Cup - race results:

 Pos.  No. Driver Laps  Time Delay
11 Luke Browning 15 35'08.337  
27 Dennis Hauger 15 35'08.684 0.347
9 Gabriele Minì 15 35'09.036 0.699
28 Mari Boya 15 35'09.375 1.038
15 Pepe Martí 15 35'09.646 1.309
1 Richard Verschoor 15 35'10.096 1.759
12 Isack Hadjar 15 35'10.686 2.349
24 Zane Maloney 15 35'10.875 2.538
17 Oliver Goethe 15 35'11.157 2.820
10  21 Laurens van Hoepen 15 35'11.345 3.008
11  19 Sophia Flörsch 15 35'11.735 3.398
12  2 Roman Staněk 15 35'12.306 3.969
13  25 Dan Ticktum 15 35'13.068 4.731
14  20 Tommy Smith 15 35'13.349 5.012
15  3 Ugo Ugochukwu 15 35'13.467 5.130
16  22 Christian Mansell 15 35'13.816 5.479
17  7 Matías Zagazeta 15 35'14.068 5.731
18  29 Marcus Armstrong 15 35'15.198 6.861
19  18 Noel León 15 35'15.977 7.640
20  5 Max Esterson 15 35'21.558 13.221
Ret  23 Nikola Tsolov 11 22'54.877 -
NC  16 Sebastian Montoya 10 35'15.534 -
Ret  6 Charlie Wurz 9 24'37.058 -
Ret  10 Paul Aron 7 16'36.274 -
Ret  8 Dino Beganovic 2 5'19.879 -
Ret  14 Alex Dunne 0 - -

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Previous article Ticktum after Macau accident: Rivals' mistake “shouldn’t happen at this level”
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