Macau GP: Vips takes controlled qualifying win

Red Bull protege Juri Vips took a controlled win in the qualification race for the Macau Grand Prix, as a first-lap pile-up took a number of potential contenders out of the running.

It was a near-perfect race for Vips, the Estonian Hitech GP driver avoiding the slipstream into Lisboa on the first lap before controlling the remainder of the 10-lap affair.

He managed to keep second-placed Robert Shwartzman (Prema) just out of the DRS zone, the gap to the Russian standing at 1.5s at the finish.

"I didn't want to take full risk at the beginning," said Vips. "The track changes overnight, so you couldn't immediately be at 100 per cent. 

"You had to build it up a little bit. It's never really perfect, but there were no mistakes. 

"I didn't expect starting from pole to be the best thing, but I really got a mega start and Robert didn't get the best one. I think that's why I led into the first braking zone. 

"I think if people around me get a good start tomorrow it'll be a bit harder, but I'll try my best."

FIA F3 champion Shwartzman, meanwhile, admitted he didn't quite have enough to take the fight to Vips.

"It wasn't the best, but it wasn't bad. It definitely wasn't as good as Juri's start," said SMP Racing-backed Shwartzman of his start. 

"Juri was quick at the beginning, he built the gap. Towards the end I started to catch him, but it wasn't enough to get into the DRS."

A fast start set up a surprising podium for Christian Lundgaard, the Dane finishing a lonely third for ART Grand Prix.

Dutchman Richard Verschoor (MP Motorsport) finished fourth, making one of very few passing moves at the front of the field on Formula 2 regular Callum Ilott (Sauber Junior Team) at Lisboa with two laps to go.

Dan Ticktum is facing an uphill battle if he's to win a third straight Macau GP as the Briton got caught up in a costly first-lap pile-up at Lisboa.

The crash started when Ticktum's Carlin teammate Logan Sargeant clipped Arjun Maini, whose Jenzer entry was subsequently fired into the wall.

That left a number of cars with nowhere to go, Jake Hughes (HWA) out on the spot while Ticktum, who was launched into the air, had to pit for repairs.

He managed to get to the finish, but was classified 27th and two laps down.

Sargeant survived the melee unscathed to finish sixth ahead Alessio Lorandi (Trident), DTM driver Ferdinand Habsburg (ART), David Beckmann (Trident) and Leo Pulcini (Campos).

Marcus Armstrong (Prema) was another driver to get delayed at Lisboa and went on to finish down in 17th place, just ahead of teammate Frederik Vesti.

Race results:

 Pos. No.  Driver  Team  Laps Time/Gap
6 Juri Vips Hitech Grand Prix 10 25'09.190
5 Robert Shwartzman SJM Prema Theodore Racing 10 1.549
9 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 10 5.625
21 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 10 7.402
25 Callum Ilott Sauber Junior Team 10 10.767
28 Logan Sargeant Carlin 10 11.216
15 Alessio Lorandi Trident 10 11.900
10 Ferdinand Habsburg ART Grand Prix 10 13.200
14 David Beckmann Trident 10 20.006
10  33 Leonardo Pulcini Campos Racing 10 25.551
11  17 Keyvan Andres HWA 10 26.416
12  19 Lukas Dunner MP Motorsport 10 28.233
13  23 Charles Leong Jenzer Motorsport 10 32.905
14  27 Enzo Fittipaldi Sauber Junior Team 10 33.676
15  11 Sebastian Fernandez ART Grand Prix 10 34.261
16  8 Yuki Tsunoda Hitech Grand Prix 10 34.698
17  2 Marcus Armstrong SJM Prema Theodore Racing 10 35.403
18  3 Frederik Vesti SJM Prema Theodore Racing 10 35.653
19  24 Andreas Estner Jenzer Motorsport 10 36.687
20  20 Liam Lawson MP Motorsport 10 37.151
21  18 Sophia Floersch HWA 10 38.158
22  7 Max Fewtrell Hitech Grand Prix 10 38.634
23  12 Olli Caldwell Trident 10 39.338
24  31 Alessio Deledda Campos Racing 10 58.920
25  26 David Schumacher Sauber Junior Team 10 1'37.059
26  29 Felipe Drugovich Carlin 8 2 laps
27  30 Dan Ticktum Carlin 8 2 laps
Ret  22 Arjun Maini Jenzer Motorsport 0  
Ret  32 Enaam Ahmed Campos Racing 0  
Ret  16 Jake Hughes HWA 0  

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