Macau Grand Prix: Antonio Felix da Costa wins F3 qualification race

Antonio Felix da Costa took victory from Callum Ilott in the qualification race for the Macau Grand Prix as he bids for his second win in the Formula 3 event

Macau Grand Prix: Antonio Felix da Costa wins F3 qualification race

BMW factory driver da Costa, returning to the Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen team with which he won Macau in 2012, slipstreamed past race leader Ilott at the end of a safety-car period, and was able to hold the Briton at bay.

Ilott trimmed the gap to the Portuguese, setting fastest lap in his Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-Mercedes on the penultimate tour and then chiselling the margin slightly more on the final lap to finish just 0.850 seconds behind.

Da Costa, meanwhile, almost lost control at Lisboa late in the race when he tried to carry more speed through the corner.

"I had not done a single practice start before today, but luckily it was OK," said da Costa.

"My car was good, and it gave me the confidence to push straight away.

"Callum did a good restart - he did what he needed to do but I was just close enough. It's very hard out there - I'm used to power-steering now so I was struggling with my arms a bit!"

Ilott got a poor start from the front row and was fourth exiting the Reservoir kink, but by the time they arrived at the Mandarin Oriental kink he had slipstreamed into the lead past da Costa, Sergio Sette Camara and poleman George Russell, who had led into Reservoir.

But behind them, one by one Maximilian Gunther, Anthoine Hubert and Lando Norris slid wide at Mandarin and thumped the barriers, while at the rear Ye Hong Li was launched over team-mate Daiki Sasaki, his wheel hitting Sasaki's head in a scary crash.

Remarkably, Sasaki continued and finished the race after pitting for a new rear wing.

Ye's shunt brought out the safety car, and when it returned to the pits there were six laps of racing remaining.

While da Costa and Ilott drew away, Carlin-run Red Bull Junior Sette Camara fended off Russell, Kenta Yamashita and Felix Rosenqvist.

At the restart, Yamashita tried a move on Russell that drew him alongside at the Mandarin kink, and the Japanese T-Sport driver saved the resulting slide with phenomenal reflexes.

Yamashita then assertively defended a challenge from Rosenqvist at San Francisco Bend to keep fifth place.

Russell appeared to lack pace, and the Hitech GP ace lost fourth place to Yamashita on the penultimate lap at Mandarin, just holding off the Prema Powerteam car of Rosenqvist for fifth and top Macau rookie status.

Prema's Nick Cassidy had chased Rosenqvist, but the Kiwi dropped back with a rough engine in the final laps, allowing Daniel Juncadella to complete a rise from 11th on the grid to seventh in his Hitech car.

Dan Ticktum put in a superb performance in only his second F3 outing to lead experienced team-mate Alexander Sims in a Double R Racing eight-nine, while Carlin's Jake Hughes completed the top 10.

QUALIFICATION RACE RESULTS - 10 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Antonio Felix da Costa Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 27m07.011s
2 Callum Ilott Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 0.850s
3 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 5.030s
4 Kenta Yamashita ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/Threebond 5.797s
5 George Russell Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 7.351s
6 Felix Rosenqvist SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 7.889s
7 Daniel Juncadella Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 10.136s
8 Dan Ticktum Double R Racing Dallara/Mercedes 17.416s
9 Alexander Sims Double R Racing Dallara/Mercedes 17.859s
10 Jake Hughes Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 20.564s
11 Nick Cassidy SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 21.050s
12 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 21.358s
13 David Beckmann KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 21.607s
14 Arjun Maini Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 21.996s
15 Joel Eriksson Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 24.194s
16 Andy Chang ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/NBE 24.940s
17 Ferdinand Habsburg Fortec Motorsports Dallara/Mercedes 26.006s
18 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 28.215s
19 Tadasuke Makino Toda Racing Dallara/Toda 31.905s
20 Jann Mardenborough B-MAX Racing Team Dallara/Volkswagen 32.589s
21 Sho Tsuboi TOM'S Dallara/Toyota 33.073s
22 Keyvan Andres KFZTeile24 Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 34.143s
23 Sam MacLeod Fortec Motorsports Dallara/Mercedes 56.743s
- Daiki Sasaki B-MAX Racing Team Dallara/Volkswagen Retirement
- Guanyu Zhou Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen Retirement
- Maximilian Guenther SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Anthoine Hubert Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Hong Li Ye B-MAX Racing Team Dallara/Volkswagen Retirement
- Lando Norris Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen Retirement

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Macau Grand Prix: Antonio Felix da Costa takes victory on F3 return

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