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.
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