Mortara Dominates Macau Grand Prix Qualification Race
Edoardo Mortara dominated the Qualification Race for the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix on Saturday – heading home his Signature team-mates Laurens Vanthoor and Daniel Abt at the end of the 10-lap race that decides the grid for the main event.
The Italian had started from pole position but did not make the best of getaways as he faced an early challenge from front row starter Valtteri Bottas through Mandarin Bend – before then losing the lead to Abt.
However, Mortara was able to move back to the front into Lisboa and from there built up a comfortable cushion – finishing the first lap more than two seconds clear.
On the third lap, Vanthoor was able to grab second when he dived past Abt and, although he was briefly able to close down Mortara’s advantage, in the end the pair took things easy to cross the line 2.3 seconds apart and ensure a good start position for Sunday’s race.
“After I got past Daniel, I was pretty safe,” said a happy Mortara. “I was pushed a little by Laurens but nothing really happened – so I put the cruise control on and just went away.”
While Mortara and Vanthoor were left alone at the front, behind them Abt had a more difficult time as he faced intense race-long pressure from the cars behind him.
Initially Bottas tried to recover his lost positions but then it was Robert Merhi’s turn to challenge him – and the Spaniard pulled off a very aggressive overtaking move around the outside of Abt into Lisboa on lap eight to grab third place.
But Merhi’s hopes of a podium finish were dashed when he slowed with a suspected puncture – handing third place back to Abt, with Bottas coming home fourth. Behind them, Marco Wittmann was fifth and Renger van der Zande finished sixth.
British duo James Calado and Alexander Sims were both out of the race on the opening lap when they crashed spectacularly on the exit of Mandarin.
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