Marcus Ericsson (1) makes a poor start, as Mortara (16) passes him on the outside on the long way to Lisboa Corner, chasing Jean-Karl Vernay (14)
Edoardo Mortara took a hard-fought victory in the Macau Grand Prix on Sunday after triumphing in a race-long duel with Signature team-mate Jean-Karl Vernay.
The Italian had started from third on the grid, but a good start allowed him to move past front-row starter Marcus Ericsson and pole position man Vernay on the run down to Lisboa.
The race was stopped a few moments later, however, when the track was blocked following a multiple-car collision caused when Daniel Ricciardo crashed into the wall at the Solitude Esses and was clipped by a number of other cars.
At the restart, Mortara got away cleanly but his advantage was not enough to prevent Vernay getting into his slipstream and overtaking him into Lisboa.
Lap 1: Edoardo Mortara leading Jean-Karl Vernay, Valtteri Bottas, Marcus Ericsson, Sam Bird and the rest
From there, the Signature pair were locked in a very tight battle for the lead – although it seemed Vernay had done enough as Mortara could not get close enough in the final corners of the lap to get a slipstream down the main straight.
However, coming out of the Melco Hairpin on lap 11, Vernay made a mistake – which allowed Mortara to close up on him and swoop past into the lead into Lisboa on lap 12.
From there, Mortara was able to pull away and take the victory – which came on the same day that fellow Italian Gabriele Tarquini became FIA World Touring Car Champion.
(L to R) Jean-Karl Vernay, Kris Nissen (VW Motorsport boss), Edoardo Mortara and Sam Bird
“It feels fantastic,” said the delighted Mortara. “So many things are going through my head I don’t know where to start. I feel so emotional. After such a difficult season this year, it is unbelievable. I am proud of this victory.”
Briton Sam Bird finished third, having moved up the field from seventh on the grid. He was fifth in the early stages of the race, but took fourth from Ericsson on lap 12. He then moved up another place on the final lap when third place runner Valtteri Bottas slowed with a wheel problem. Ericsson finished fourth, with Bottas fifth.
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