Verschoor upstages Vips for Macau GP win

Vips leads Verschoor early
Vips leads Verschoor early

Macao rookie Richard Verschoor upset the form book by holding off pre-race favourite Jüri Vips to secure a sensational victory in the Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA F3 World Cup.

The race got off to a dramatic start, front-row starter Robert Shwartzman out of the running before getting to Lisboa Bend on the opening lap. The Russian's undoing was light contact with Christian Lundgaard on the way into Mandarin, the resulting front-right puncture ending his day on the spot.

That left polesitter Vips out front, as Verschoor snuck up the inside of Lundgaard into Lisboa to snatch second place.

Vips found the best part of two seconds over Verschoor on the opening lap alone, but his early advantage disappeared when Ferdinand Habsburg crashed on his way out of the Solitude Esses on the third lap, bringing out the Safety Car.

The Lap 8 restart proved to be bad news for Vips. The Estonian was powerless to stop Verschoor from getting a run through the first two corners, his Dutch rival sweeping into the lead at Lisboa Bend.

Verschoor passes Vips for the lead
Verschoor passes Vips for the lead

Hopes of a quick fightback were dashed when Sophia Floersch rolled to a stop on the way into Mandarin, the recovery requiring a short Virtual Safety Car intervention.

When the race went green and DRS was enabled Vips piled pressure on the leader, even getting next to Verschoor into Lisboa on Lap 11. But he couldn't find a way past, Verschoor holding on to become the first Dutch driver to win the Macau Grand Prix.

"To be honest I can't really believe it just yet," he said. "It was such a hectic race and I was under a lot of pressure. I think we had really good pace, but to be honest Jüri was a bit too fast for me. I didn't expect to be able to keep him behind. I saw he tried to do one big move and then I had a big gap, but he still closed the gap. I thought for those last two laps he'd be able to fight me. So I made sure I had a good sector three and sector four so I could have a big enough gap to not get overtaken."

Vips, meanwhile, was left devastated by missing out on victory after a near-flawless weekend. "I'm just disappointed," he said. "I feel like it was a perfect weekend, minus the Safety Car restart. I don't really know what happened there, I think I picked up something on my tyres. I don't know if it was debris from the crash. But that's how Richard got close to me and passed me. Then I ruined my tyres by taking a risk. In the end I had big flat spots, I don't know how I managed to keep Richard under pressure in the middle sector because my tyres were finished."

Logan Sargeant made it two Macao rookies on the podium, the Carlin driver sealing a fine third thanks to a fast start from sixth on the grid, followed by a Lap 9 move at Lisboa Bend on Lundgaard.

"I had a decent-enough start," said the American. "I got a good run through Mandarin and I think I picked up a couple of positions. And then it was just picking them off one by one and trying to catch the leaders. The VSC was a bit of a shame. I felt like after that I really lost the confidence in the grip I had in the tyres. But I'm happy, we'll be back next year to try and win."

Lundgaard came home fourth ahead of Alessio Lorandi and Callum Ilott, as Liam Lawson capped off a brilliant day for MP Motorsport with a charge from 20th on the grid to seventh.

Fellow Kiwi Marcus Armstrong was another hard charger, turning a 17th grid slot into eighth, as David Beckmann and Frederik Vesti rounded out the top 10.

Final Lap

Race Result

1 21 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 15 0.000s
2 6 Juri Vips Hitech Grand Prix 15 0.792s
3 28 Logan Sargeant Carlin Buzz Racing 15 1.540s
4 9 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 15 2.241s
5 15 Alessio Lorandi Trident Motorsport 15 5.020s
6 25 Callum Ilott Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 15 5.922s
7 20 Liam Lawson MP Motorsport 15 8.594s
8 2 Marcus Armstrong SJM Theodore Racing by Prema 15 9.365s
9 14 David Beckmann Trident Motorsport 15 13.239s
10 3 Frederik Vesti SJM Theodore Racing by Prema 15 13.633s
11 8 Yuki Tsunoda Hitech Grand Prix 15 15.717s
12 17 Keyvan Andres HWA Racelab 15 18.665s
13 30 Dan Ticktum Carlin Buzz Racing 15 19.230s
14 19 Lukas Dunner MP Motorsport 15 20.498s
15 11 Sebastian Fernandez ART Grand Prix 15 21.705s
16 27 Enzo Fittipaldi Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 15 26.174s
17 16 Jake Hughes HWA Racelab 15 26.294s
18 7 Max Fewtrell Hitech Grand Prix 15 28.690s
19 23 Charles Leong Jenzer Motorsport 15 33.792s
20 24 Andreas Estner Jenzer Motorsport 15 34.400s
21 26 David Schumacher Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 15 35.894s
22 32 Enaam Ahmed Campos Racing 15 36.521s
23 22 Arjun Maini Jenzer Motorsport 15 37.184s
24 29 Felipe Drugovich Carlin Buzz Racing 15 37.621s
25 31 Alessio Deledda Campos Racing 15 53.135s
DNF 18 Sophia Florsch HWA Racelab 8 DNF
DNF 10 Ferdinand Habsburg ART Grand Prix 3 DNF
DNF Leonardo Pulcini Campos Racing 3 DNF
DNF 12 Olli Caldwell Trident Motorsport 3 DNF
DNF 5 Robert Shwartzman SJM Theodore Racing by Prema 0 DNF

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