Macau Grand Prix: Ilott overcomes Eriksson for qualifying race win

Ferrari protege Callum Ilott took a stunning win in the Macau Grand Prix qualification race after passing Joel Eriksson with a brilliant move for the lead

Macau Grand Prix: Ilott overcomes Eriksson for qualifying race win

Ilott, who qualified third, got ahead of the slow-starting Lando Norris for second when the lights went out, and his Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes was 1.127 seconds adrift of poleman Eriksson at the end of the opening lap.

The gap remained stable over the first three laps, but then Ilott homed in on the BMW junior's Motopark Dallara-Volkswagen, and was in his slipstream at the end of the fifth lap of 10.

Ilott immediately tried a pass on the outside of Lisboa, but that didn't work.

At the beginning of lap seven, Ilott had such momentum on Eriksson that he was able to spear down the inside at the flat-out Mandarin kink, the two drivers both showing superb judgement as they battled cleanly for the lead, and Eriksson immediately tried to repass in vain at Lisboa.

By the end of that lap, Ilott was already 2.480s to the good, and three laps later he crossed the finish line 7.957s in front.

"The first time I tried to pass Joel I didn't time it right and I was on the wrong side," said Ilott, "so the next time I thought I'd try to surprise him a bit and get him into Mandarin.

"I didn't expect to pull away so quickly, but I was pushing.

"Then, when I saw the gap, I thought, 'OK, I can relax a bit'."

Eriksson, whose rear tyres were fading dramatically, spent the rest of the race fending off Motopark team-mate Sergio Sette Camara.

The Brazilian was one of many to swamp Norris on the run to the Mandarin kink on the opening lap, and from ninth on the grid was already up to fifth by Lisboa.

Sette Camara passed Carlin's Ferdinand Habsburg for fourth into Lisboa on lap two, and then slipstreamed past the Prema car of Maximilian Gunther for third after Mandarin on the sixth lap.

Norris battled his way up from the initial ninth position he dropped to and passed Dan Ticktum's Motopark machine for fifth on lap seven, but then a mysterious lack of pace - which his Carlin team could not explain immediately after the race - dropped him down again.

Ticktum, who set the fastest lap early in the race, was another driver going backwards in the closing stages, and he faded to eighth, one position behind Norris.

Habsburg repassed the struggling Norris to take fifth, while Pedro Piquet showed superb race pace in his Van Amersfoort Racing car after a disappointing second qualifying.

Once Piquet passed Yuhi Sekiguchi, he quickly caught the group in front and deposed Norris and Ticktum to take sixth. Sekiguchi finished ninth for B-Max Racing, while Prema's Guan Yu Zhou completed the top 10.

Mick Schumacher ran seventh early on, but locked up into Lisboa as he tried to pass Habsburg for sixth and took to the escape road, rejoining at the back of the field.

Result - 10 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Callum Ilott SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Dallara/Mercedes 22m18.077s
2 Joel Eriksson Motopark with VEB Dallara/Volkswagen 7.957s
3 Sergio Sette Camara Motopark with VEB Dallara/Volkswagen 8.643s
4 Maximilian Guenther SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Dallara/Mercedes 9.798s
5 Ferdinand Habsburg Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 10.391s
6 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 10.821s
7 Lando Norris Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 11.966s
8 Dan Ticktum Motopark with VEB Dallara/Volkswagen 12.657s
9 Yuhi Sekiguchi B-MAX Racing Team Dallara/Volkswagen 13.418s
10 Guanyu Zhou SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Dallara/Mercedes 14.715s
11 Kenta Yamashita B-MAX Racing Team Dallara/Volkswagen 15.505s
12 Sacha Fenestraz Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 17.608s
13 Ralf Aron Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 19.371s
14 Marino Sato Motopark with VEB Dallara/Volkswagen 25.456s
15 Sho Tsuboi TOM'S Dallara/Toyota 26.614s
16 Jehan Daruvala Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 30.412s
17 Tadasuke Makino Motopark with VEB Dallara/Volkswagen 32.173s
18 Alex Palou ThreeBond Racing with Drago Corse Dallara/Threebond 32.606s
19 Ritomo Miyata TOM'S Dallara/Toyota 37.061s
20 Mick Schumacher SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Dallara/Mercedes 37.634s
21 Devlin Defrancesco Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 51.177s

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