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Wittmann Heads wet Macau Grand Prix Free Practice
Marco Whitmann
Marco Wittmann topped the times during an incident-filled opening practice session for the “SJM” Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix, which took place on a wet Guia circuit on Thursday morning.

Early morning rain had left the track soaked before the first session, and the downpour intensified as the cars took the track for their first laps of the weekend.

Despite the difficult conditions, drivers were able to complete a lot of running and the only moment early on was when Hironobu Yasuda ran wide at the Melco hairpin twice in his Three Bond Racing car.

As the leading drivers steadily improved their lap times, the first red flag of the session was called out after 18 minutes to retrieve Yasuda’s stationary car at Melco, as well as that of Mitch Evans, who had stopped out on track too.

The session restarted with 20 minutes remaining, but it was stopped against just six minutes later when Felix Rosenqvist ran into the barriers as he tried to avoid hitting a line of stationary cars that were waiting at the Melco hairpin.

With the rain having eased off, the lap times tumbled in the final six minutes of the session as drivers began to push a little harder. Wittmann first moved to the top of the timesheets with one minute remaining, before a host of drivers – including Felipe Nasr, Roberto Merhi and Daniel Juncadella beat his time.

However, on the final lap, Wittmann was able to improve and the Signature driver set a best lap that was 1.808 seconds quicker than nearest challenge Juncadella.

Japanese Formula 3 champion Yuhi Sekiguchi, who was only drafted in to the event after local driver Michael Ho injured himself training, was third quickest ahead of Merhi and Lucas Foresti. Valtteri Bottas was unable to take part in the session because he is still in transit from his F1 testing duties at Abu Dhabi earlier this week.

Free Practice result

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Behind
1. Marco Wittmann (D) Signature Dallara-VW 2m31.984s +0.000s
2. Daniel Juncadella (E) Prema Dallara-Merc 2m33.792s +1.808s
3. Yuhi Sekiguchi (J) Mucke Dallara-Merc 2m34.035s +2.051s
4. Roberto Merhi (E) Prema Dallara-Merc 2m34.191s +2.207s
5. Lucas Foresti (BR) Fortec Dallara-Merc 2m34.656s +2.672s
6. Kevin Magnussen (DK) Carlin Dallara-VW 2m34.877s +2.893s
7. Felipe Nasr (BR) Carlin Dallara-VW 2m35.372s +3.388s
8. Carlos Huertas (COL) Carlin Dallara-VW 2m35.605s +3.621s
9. Richie Stanaway (NZ) Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW 2m36.798s +4.814s
10. Hannes van Asseldonk (NL) Hitech Dallara-VW 2m36.947s +4.963s
11. Jazeman Jaafar (MAL) Carlin Dallara-VW 2m36.955s +4.971s
12. Kimiya Sato (J) Motopark Dallara-VW 2m38.889s +6.905s
13. Daniel Abt (D) Signature Dallara-VW 2m39.111s +7.127s
14. Pietro Fantin (BR) Hitech Dallara-VW 2m39.490s +7.506s
15. Adderly Fong (HK) Sino Vision Dallara-Merc 2m39.562s +7.578s
16. Antonio Felix da Costa (P) Hitech Dallara-VW 2m40.845s +8.861s
17. Carlos Sainz Jr (E) Signature Dallara-VW 2m40.948s +8.964s
18. Carlos Munoz (COL) Signature Dallara-VW 2m41.247s +9.263s
19. William Buller (GB) Fortec Dallara-Merc 2m43.291s +11.307s
20. Hywel Lloyd (GB) Sino Vision Dallara-Merc 2m44.074s +12.090s
21. Laurens Vanthoor (B) Signature Dallara-VW 2m45.202s +13.218s
22. Hideki Yamauchi (J) Toda Dallara-Honda 2m48.501s +16.517s
23. Jimmy Eriksson (S) Motopark Dallara-VW 2m51.888s +19.904s
24. Mitch Evans (NZ) Double R Dallara-Merc 2m51.989s +20.005s
25. Richard Bradley (GB) TOM'S Dallara-Toyota 2m52.636s +20.652s
26. Alexander Sims (GB) TOM'S Dallara-Toyota 2m54.185s +22.201s
27. Marko Asmer (EST) Double R Dallara-Merc 2m55.702s +23.718s
28. Hironobu Yasuda (J) Three Bond Dallara-Nissan 3m48.936s +1m16.952s
29. Felix Rosenqvist (S) Mucke Dallara-Merc 3m49.955s +1m17.971s
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