Edoardo Mortara secured his place in the history books on Sunday when he became the first man to win the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix for a second time.
The Signature Racing driver fought back from third place at one point in the incident-filled 15-lap event to head home team-mate Laurens Vanthoor, with Prema Powerteam’s Valtteri Bottas taking third at the checkered flag.
Mortara had led away cleanly from pole position at the start and defended well into Lisboa, holding off Daniel Abt who had jumped ahead of front-row starter Vanthoor.
But almost immediately the safety car was called out following a start-line accident as two cars stalled on the grid – and others crashed avoiding them.
The race restarted on lap three and Mortara found himself under pressure from behind, with Abt and Vanthoor swooping past him on the run down to Lisboa.
But just a few corners later leader Abt got it badly wrong at the Solitude Esses – swiping the wall on the right before bouncing into the barriers on the left hand side. With his car stranded on the track another safety car was called.
Mortara had better luck at the second restart on lap seven as he drafted past Vanthoor on the run to Lisboa. After that he pulled clear to take the historic win.
“It’s a great feeling and a great honor for me to be in the history books,” said a delighted Mortara afterwards. “This year it was a big fight but I am just so happy to be here and to have won Macau for a second time.”
Vanthoor could do nothing to close down the gap to Mortara, and he found himself under pressure in the closing stages from Bottas – who had closed in on him after getting delayed early on behind eventual fourth placed finisher Marco Wittmann.
Renger van der Zande finished fifth, ahead of Antonio Felix da Costa, and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Edoardo Mortara pulls away
EDOARDO MORTARA: “It feels superb to win again and it’s a great honor for me to be a small part of motorsport history. Every year the competition at this race is really tough. Today was a big challenge. Laurens [Vanthoor] and Valtteri [Bottas] were pushing me really hard.
I’ve got quite a lot of experience here and know that if you haven’t got a big gap to the car behind as you exit the last corner, they will overtake you. I thought I had enough when the first safety car came in, but unfortunately that was not the case and they Laurens and Daniel [Abt] passed me right at the end of the straight. Daniel then crashed and he wasn’t moving as we came past the wreck behind the safety car, so I really hope he’s okay.
At the second restart I got close enough to Laurens on the straight to pass him, and from there I pushed like hell. More than in qualifying. I gave it everything – every corner I was close to touching the wall. I risked it all to create a gap.
The best part was seeing my guys cheering from the pitwall as I took the checkered flag. I love my Signature boys. Huge thanks to them and to Volkswagen for giving me a fantastic car and fantastic support. This is a sensational end to the perfect year for us.”
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