Russell takes pole for Quals race at Macau

George Russell
George Russell

Macau Grand Prix debutant George Russell snatched pole position for the qualification race in a thrilling session at the Guia Circuit.

Hitech racer Russell, scheduled to compete last year before being replaced, rose to the top of the timesheets following two late red flags.

He initially eclipsed long-time leaders Callum Ilott and Antonio Felix da Costa with a 2:10.398, before improving to 2:10.100, a new record.

In cool, overcast conditions, the majority of the top 10 dipped under the 2m11s barrier, with several drivers enjoying spells at the front.

Carlin's Felix da Costa, fastest in the first qualifying session, lowered the benchmark to 2:10.501 in Q2 after a flurry of early lap times, a gain of more than a second.

Ilott recorded a 2:10.470 moments later to edge 0.031s clear for Van Amersfoort, before the two red flag phases, caused by Daiki Sasaki and Maximilian Gunther.

Sasaki went off in the middle sector of the lap, while Maximilian Gunther clipped the wall at R Bend and slid across the circuit, with rivals darting to avoid the debris.

As the action resumed, amid rain drops, Russell delivered a sensational final run to go seven hundredths quicker than Ilott, before he found a further three tenths.

Da Costa
Da Costa

Arjun Maini crashed at Lisboa with just a few seconds remaining, which brought the session to an end, confirming Russell's pole, in front of Ilott and Felix da Costa.

"I went into this weekend saying I was going to take it easy," said Russell.

"I was much further down the order in FP1, Q1 and FP2, so I got a little bit worried, but we made changes, I was confident with what we did, and I did a really good lap after the red flag.

"It was able to deliver probably one of the best laps of my life."

Sergio Sette Camara took fourth, behind Carlin team-mate Felix da Costa, with Japanese Formula 3 champion Kenta Yamashita beating Jake Hughes (also Carlin) to sixth.

Gunther wound up seventh, despite his crash, edging out Prema team-mate and two-time Macau winner Felix Rosenqvist, who locked up heavily at the start of a decisive run.

Lando Norris placed ninth in the fourth and final Carlin, with the other Prema of Nick Cassidy rounding out the top 10, narrowly denying 2011 race winner Daniel Juncadella.

Combined Results

1 8 George Russell Hitech GP GBR Dallara Mercedes 2:12.670 2:10.100 2:10.100
2 20 Callum llott Van Amersfoort Racing GBR Dallara Mercedes 2:11.761 2:10.470 2:10.470
3 29 Antonio Felix Da Costa Carlin PRT Dallara Volkswagen 2:11.535 2:10.501 2:10.501
4 27 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin BRA Dallara Volkswagen 2:11.994 2:10.716 2:10.716
5 11 Kenta Yamashita ThreeBond with T-Sport JPN Dallara Tomei 2:11.797 2:10.731 2:10.731
6 28 Jake Hughes Carlin GBR Dallara Volkswagen 2:12.360 2:10.776 2:10.776
7 2 Maximilian Gunther SJM Theodore Racing DEU Dallara Mercedes 2:13.017 2:10.996 2:10.996
8 1 Felix Rosenqvist SJM Theodore Racing SW Dallara Mercedes 2:11.797 2:11.054 2:11.054
9 26 Lando Norris Carlin GBR Dallara Volkswagen 2:11.996 2:11.067 2:11.067
10 3 Nick Cassidy SJM Theodore Racing NLZ Dallara Mercedes 2:12.123 2:11.341 2:11.341
11 9 Daniel Juncadella Hitech GP ESP Dallara Mercedes 2:11.821 2:11.470 2:11.470
12 30 Alexander Sims Double R Racing GBR Dallara Mercedes 2:12.600 2:11.597 2:11.597
13 31 Daniel Ticktum Double R Racing GBR Dallara Mercedes 2:13.102 2:11.674 2:11.674
14 21 Anthoine Hubert Van Amersfoort Racing FRA Dallara Mercedes 2:12.727 2:11.751 2:11.751
15 23 David Beckmann kfzteile24 Mucke Motorsport DEU Dallara Mercedes 2:14.062 2:11.775 2:11.775
16 32 Sam Macleod Fortec Motorsport GBR Dallara Mercedes 2:12.536 2:11.799 2:11.799
17 17 Arjun Maini Motopark IND Dallara Volkswagen 2:12.657 2:11.871 2:11.871
18 10 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP RUS Dallara Mercedes 2:13.438 2:11.987 2:11.987
19 16 Joel Eriksson Motopar SW Dallara Volkswagen 2:13.479 2:12.455 2:12.455
20 18 ZHOU Guan Yu Motopark CHN Dallara Volkswagen 2:14.278 2:12.465 2:12.465
21 22 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing BRA Dallara Mercedes 2:13.276 2:12.609 2:12.609
22 19 Tadasuke Makino Toda Racing JPN Dallara Toda 2:15.618 2:12.838 2:12.838
23 33 Ferdinand Habsburg Fortec Motorsport AUT Dallara Mercedes 2:15.336 2:12.879 2:12.879
24 12 CHANG Wing Chung ThreeBond with T-Sport MAC Dallara Volkswagen 2:13.336 2:12.897 2:12.897
25 5 Jann Mardenborough B-Max Racing Team GBR Dallara Volkswagen 2:14.174 2:13.673 2:13.673
26 6 Daiki Sasaki B-Max Racing Team JPN Dallara Volkswagen 2:15.261 2:13.772 2:13.772

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