Daniel Juncadella wins spectacular Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix
Podium: From left to right: Nasr, Juncadella and Wittmann - A still emotional Macau winner Juncadella and a bittersweet handshake between Nasr (2nd) and Witmann (3rd)
Daniel Juncadella triumphed after a thrilling battle for victory in the “SJM” Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix on Sunday after making the most of a safety car restart to grab a lead that he never relinquished.
The Spaniard was running fourth early on in the race but, after jumping two places following a safety car restart on lap five, he grabbed the opportunity to overhaul early front runner Marco Wittmann after a slipstreaming battle following another safety car restart on lap 10.
From there, Juncadella extended his advantage – despite some wild moments in the city section of the track – over second placed Felipe Nasr until a third and final safety car period on the penultimate lap guaranteed him the victory as the race could not be restarted.
“I didn’t really expect to win but this feeling is amazing,” said the Prema driver. “I still can’t believe it. On the last lap when we were behind the safety car, I have never cried that much in my life.”
Wittmann (1), Nasr (7), Bottas (28) and Juncadella (12) get the perfect getaway whilst Merhi (11) gets a very poor getaway, Vanthoor (2) hits Merhi and collects Abt (3) and Mehri eventually gets hit from behind by Stanaway (32) (not visible)
Wittmann, who had started from pole position and had built up a 2.7 seconds advantage before the second safety car period, dropped down to fifth at one stage after being overtaken at the restart – but recovered to finish third.
The race was full of incident – with Roberto Merhi triggering a start-line accident when he stalled at the start and was hit from behind by Richie Stanaway, while Laurens Vanthoor spun after getting caught up in the incident.
Valtteri Bottas had threatened for the lead early on, but he hit the wall at Lisboa on lap four following a safety car restart and was forced to retire.
Kevin Magnussen escaped with an injured left knee following a high speed crash into the fencing at Mandarin Bend, after he clipped the back of William Buller’s car and was launched into the air. Carlos Sainz and Hywel Lloyd also crashed trying to avoid getting caught up in the incident.
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