Macau GP: Hughes takes provisional pole
Jake Hughes took provisional pole for the Macau Grand Prix with the event’s fastest-ever Formula 3 qualifying lap, in a dramatic session plagued by red-flag stoppages.
Hughes set a sensational 2m06.793s lap on what is the HWA squad’s Macau debut, although Friday's second qualifying is likely to shake up the order as track conditions improve.
The new FIA F3 car had already produced scintillating times before qualifying, with the top six in this morning's Free Practice 1 all quicker than last year’s pole time.
Red Bull Formula 1 junior Juri Vips was the first driver to dip under the 2m07s barrier with a 2m06.943s, set 19 minutes from the end. Then, just two minutes later, Macau veteran Hughes jumped to the top of the order with the session-topping lap.
Vips’s time was enough to take third for Hitech Grand Prix, after he was jumped in the closing stages by David Beckmann, the German seemingly reinvigorated by his move to Trident after a tough FIA F3 campaign with ART Grand Prix.
Armstrong was the top Prema Racing driver in fourth, as both his teammates suffered from a myriad of traffic issues in between flashes of pace.
Rounding out the top five behind Armstrong was American driver Logan Sargeant, buoyed by Carlin’s improved pace compared with its FIA F3 campaign.
Sargeant’s teammate and double Macau Grand Prix winner Dan Ticktum proved Carlin’s pace is genuine, lying one spot behind in sixth.
Ticktum’s fellow Briton Callum Ilott rounded out a phenomenal day in seventh, the Ferrari junior having not even driven the car in a simulator before the event. Having contested the Macau race on a number of occasions he was immediately on the pace in the morning’s free practice session, before backing that up in Q1, despite being unfamiliar with the car.
Behind Vesti and Shwartzman, Renault junior Christian Lundgaard rounded out the Top 10 as the first ART Grand Prix driver in the order.
Red Bull and Honda junior Yuki Tsunoda – switching from Jenzer Motorsport to Hitech for this event – had to watch most of the session from the sidelines after his car incurred damage in practice session when he crashed at Hospital Bend.
He eventually joined the session but then crashed again at the Maternity Bend, ending the session early and halting Shwartzman's bid to improve for the last time.
Earlier Enaam Ahmed of Campos had brought out a red flag with a spin, while Hitech’s Max Fewtrell hit the wall at Lisboa and Olli Caldwell stopped on the straight after the Fisherman’s Bend with an apparent mechanical issue.
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The FIA Formula 3 World Cup in Macau will not be run this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, while FIA WTCR will not make its planned return to Asia.
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