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Mortara takes provisional Macau pole

Edoardo MortaraEdoardo Mortara got his bid to win a Macau Grand Prix double off to a perfect start on Thursday when he grabbed provisional pole position in first qualifying.

The Signature driver, who is hoping to become the first man in history to win the blue riband F3 race twice, got steadily faster through the session before knocking closest rival Valtteri Bottas off the top of the timesheet with 11 minutes remaining.

Almost immediately after Mortara set that provisional pole position time, Carlin's Jazeman Jaafar crashed at Fishermen's Bend - leaving his car stranded near the barriers on the inside of the track and bringing out the yellow flags.

Those caution flags meant drivers were unable to improve on their fastest times before the end of the session - meaning that Mortara's best effort was enough to keep him 0.113 seconds ahead of Bottas.

"I'm happy to be first, but I don't really care about the times at the moment," said Mortara. "Today is all about getting prepared for qualifying and the race. I'm feeling good so let's see what we can do tomorrow."

Bottas was far from unhappy about the result of the session - as he was well aware that improved track conditions tomorrow, plus more confidence in the car and new tyres would see times tumble.

"It was a bit of a shame with the yellow flags because the car felt good and there is plenty of time still to come," said the Prema Powerteam driver. "I used the same tyres as this morning so I know second qualifying will be quicker.

"I also know we can push a lot harder tomorrow, as today I didn't take any risks at all."

Mortara's team-mates Marco Wittmann and Laurens Vanthoor ended the session third and fourth fastest, ahead of Carlos Huertas and Renger van der Zande.

The session was red flagged after 14 minutes when Daniel Juncadella hit the wall at Fishermen's Bend. There was a short delay while his car was retrieved and the barriers were fixed.

Pos Driver                   Team          Car   Time       Gap   Laps
 1. Edoardo Mortara          Signature     D/V   2m13.068s          10
 2. Valtteri Bottas          Prema         D/M   2m13.181s  +0.113  10
 3. Marco Wittmann           Signature     D/V   2m13.593s  +0.525  12
 4. Laurens Vanthoor         Signature     D/V   2m13.925s  +0.857  12
 5. Carlos Huertas           Hitech        D/V   2m14.043s  +0.975  12
 6. Renger van der Zande     Motopark      D/V   2m14.062s  +0.994  11
 7. Felipe Nasr              Raikkonen     D/M   2m14.217s  +1.149  11
 8. James Calado             Carlin        D/V   2m14.266s  +1.198  12
 9. Alexandre Imperatori     Toda          D/H   2m14.315s  +1.247  12
10. Daniel Abt               Signature     D/V   2m14.512s  +1.444  12
11. Oliver Webb              Fortec        D/M   2m14.666s  +1.598  12
12. Jean-Eric Vergne         Carlin        D/V   2m14.751s  +1.683  12
13. William Buller           Fortec        D/M   2m14.855s  +1.787  12
14. Antonio Felix da Costa   Carlin        D/V   2m15.019s  +1.951  12
15. Yuhi Sekiguchi           Three Bond    D/N   2m15.128s  +2.060  12
16. Hideki Yamauchi          Hanashima     D/T   2m15.209s  +2.141  12
17. Yuji Kunimoto            TOM's         D/T   2m15.338s  +2.270  12
18. Alexander Sims           Raikkonen     D/M   2m15.350s  +2.282   9
19. Roberto Merhi            Prema         D/M   2m15.505s  +2.437   8
20. Jazeman Jaafar           Carlin        D/V   2m16.124s  +3.056   6
21. Rio Haryanto             Raikkonen     D/M   2m16.139s  +3.071  12
22. Lucas Foresti            Fortec        D/M   2m16.358s  +3.290  12
23. Hywel Lloyd              CF/Manor      D/M   2m16.695s  +3.627  12
24. Kimiya Sato              Motopark      D/V   2m16.884s  +3.816  12
25. Felix Rosenqvist         Performance   D/V   2m16.889s  +3.821  12
26. Rafael Suzuki            TOM's         D/T   2m18.459s  +5.391  12
27. Adderly Fong             Sino Vision   D/M   2m18.942s  +5.874  10
28. Daniel Juncadella        Prema         D/M   2m20.892s  +7.824   3
29. Michael Ho               Raikkonen     D/M   2m22.672s  +9.604  10
30. Carlos Munoz             Hitech        D/V   no time  
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