Merhi takes Provisional Pole Position for Macau F3 GP
Robert Merhi fast, but crashed
Roberto Merhi secured provisional pole position during a wet qualifying session for the “SJM” Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix on Thursday, but his session ended in disappointment after he crashed into another car and put himself out.
With rain falling for the start of the 30-minute first qualifying session, drivers were keen to deliver their fast lap while the track was in its best condition.
And it was Merhi who led the way early on, moving to the top of the session after 10 minutes and then improving on his best to deliver a lap that was 1.675 seconds quicker than nearest rival Marco Wittmann.
But with track conditions deteriorating, Merhi made a mistake in the braking zone for Lisboa and slid into the back of Felix Rosenqvist’s car – with the pair crashing into the escape road at the corner.
The incident brought out the red flag for a few minutes and, when the session resumed, it was then Wittmann who hit trouble on the wet track as he slid into the barriers at Lisboa too.
Felipe Nasr ended the day third fastest and, with those ahead of him having encountered trouble, he was happy to have kept his car in one piece.
“Macau in the wet is one of the greatest challenges in motor racing,” said the Carlin driver. “In the first 10 minutes the track conditions were best, but then it started raining even more and we felt it better to come into the pits.”
Daniel Juncadella finished fourth overall, ahead of Alexander Sims, Yuhi Sekiguchi and Hannes van Asseldonk.
Valtteri Bottas managed to make it to the Macau track in time following his journey from the Abu Dhabi F1 test – despite missing a flight by a couple of minutes and suffering a delay on a ferry. He was 27th overall.
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