George Russell beats Callum Ilott to pole on Macau Grand Prix debut

George Russell snatched pole position from Callum Ilott in a gripping final qualifying session for the Macau Grand Prix

George Russell beats Callum Ilott to pole on Macau Grand Prix debut

Russell drove what he described as "one of the best laps of my life", as spots of rain fell following two red-flag stoppages, to deny Ilott, who was on pole until three minutes from the end of the session.

Macau rookie Russell then lowered the time further on his final lap in his Hitech GP Dallara-Mercedes.

"After the second red flag I went out and at Lisboa there was a slippery-surface flag," he said.

"I didn't know what it was for, but as I went over the mountain I saw there was some rain - but I realised that the grip was still there.

"I had Jann Mardenborough in front of me, got a bit cheeky and went for a slipstream, and that lap put me P1.

"I thought surely I can't improve on that, but I knew that even if I crashed P1 was probably there and I pulled the lap out - the middle sector was absolutely awesome."

Ilott set his best lap on old tyres fitted to his Van Amersfoort Racing machine at the start of the session, and felt that his disadvantageous position in the second half of the pitlane prevented what would have been an improvement on new rubber after the red flags, while Russell was able to squeeze one more lap out.

The same applied to Carlin duo Antonio Felix da Costa and Sergio Sette Camara, who finished third and fourth, both having set their times in the first half of the session on just two new Pirellis each.

"But that doesn't mean George's job is any less," acknowledged Red Bull junior Sette Camara. "He did an amazing job."

Japanese champion Kenta Yamashita continued his strong weekend in the Tomei-engined T-Sport car to take fifth on the grid, with Jake Hughes putting his Carlin entry into sixth place.

Maximilian Gunther leapfrogged his Prema Powerteam stablemates to take seventh on the grid for the qualification race, but the German caused the second red flag when he crashed heavily at R Bend.

Two-time Macau winner Felix Rosenqvist slumped to eighth on the grid in his Prema car, with Lando Norris making it all four Carlin runners in the top nine, and Prema's Nick Cassidy rounding out the top 10.

The first red flag was caused by Daiki Sasaki crashing before Maternity Bend, completing a miserable day for the B-Max team, which could not repair the heavy damage sustained in free practice to Ye Hong Li's car in time for the session.

There was a third red flag that came out as the session finished, caused by an Arjun Maini incident at Lisboa, which prevented some drivers from completing their final laps.

QUALIFYING TWO TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 George Russell Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 2m10.100s -
2 Callum Ilott Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 2m10.470s 0.370s
3 Antonio Felix da Costa Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 2m10.501s 0.401s
4 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 2m10.716s 0.616s
5 Kenta Yamashita ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/Threebond 2m10.731s 0.631s
6 Jake Hughes Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 2m10.776s 0.676s
7 Maximilian Guenther SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 2m10.996s 0.896s
8 Felix Rosenqvist SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 2m11.054s 0.954s
9 Lando Norris Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 2m11.067s 0.967s
10 Nick Cassidy SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 2m11.341s 1.241s
11 Daniel Juncadella Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 2m11.470s 1.370s
12 Alexander Sims Double R Racing Dallara/Mercedes 2m11.597s 1.497s
13 Dan Ticktum Double R Racing Dallara/Mercedes 2m11.674s 1.574s
14 Anthoine Hubert Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 2m11.751s 1.651s
15 David Beckmann KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 2m11.775s 1.675s
16 Sam MacLeod Fortec Motorsports Dallara/Mercedes 2m11.799s 1.699s
17 Arjun Maini Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 2m11.871s 1.771s
18 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 2m11.987s 1.887s
19 Joel Eriksson Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 2m12.455s 2.355s
20 Guanyu Zhou Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 2m12.465s 2.365s
21 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 2m12.609s 2.509s
22 Tadasuke Makino Toda Racing Dallara/Toda 2m12.838s 2.738s
23 Ferdinand Habsburg Fortec Motorsports Dallara/Mercedes 2m12.879s 2.779s
24 Andy Chang ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/NBE 2m12.897s 2.797s
25 Jann Mardenborough B-MAX Racing Team Dallara/Volkswagen 2m13.673s 3.573s
26 Daiki Sasaki B-MAX Racing Team Dallara/Volkswagen 2m13.772s 3.672s
27 Sho Tsuboi TOM'S Dallara/Toyota 2m14.868s 4.768s
28 Keyvan Andres KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 2m15.028s 4.928s

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Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix: Callum Ilott fastest in second practice
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