McLaren F1 junior Lando Norris leads Macau Grand Prix qualifying

McLaren Formula 1 reserve driver and Formula 3 European champion Lando Norris topped the first qualifying session for the Macau Grand Prix by almost a second

McLaren F1 junior Lando Norris leads Macau Grand Prix qualifying

The 18-year-old Briton, who only arrived in Macau on Wednesday evening after hot-footing it from Brazil following his cancelled F1 test, put in two laps with his Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen that were considerably quicker than the best anyone else could manage.

Norris set purple times in the challenging mountain sector that were almost a second ahead of the opposition, but admitted that much of his advantage was created by taking on two new tyres - in common with most of his team-mates - at the third red-flag stoppage of a chaotic session.

Most of the leading runners have been keeping their powder dry on tyres, with 14 Yokohamas allocated to each car for the weekend, and the Japanese rubber proving quite high on degradation, so most stayed on their set from free practice.

"My driving was a bit affected by the graining, so I was setting myself a false limit," said Norris, "but on new tyres it was quite a big jump.

"It's a bit hard to know what our pace is compared to the others - when the time comes for four new [tyres] that'll be the first time we see the real pace of everyone.

"So I'm happy with qualifying, but I can't be too happy yet."

Pedro Piquet was another to fit new tyres at the third red flag, and he took second position with his Van Amersfoort Racing car.

Even so, Piquet was also second best on old rubber, and at the time of that stoppage he was behind only Maximilian Gunther.

Gunther was happy to bounce back from his technical problem in free practice to take third fastest in his Prema Powerteam car, the German driving spectacularly and topping those who stayed on old rubber.

Formula Renault Eurocup race winner Dan Ticktum was a superb fourth for Motopark, the Red Bull junior and team-mate Joel Eriksson (fifth fastest) suffering because they were relatively light on fuel, so joined the track late after the third stoppage.

When Jehan Daruvala smacked the barriers at San Francisco Bend, that caused a fourth and final red flag - with fewer than two minutes remaining on the clock - meaning Ticktum and Eriksson had not yet completed a flying lap in the final part of the session.

Macau GP veteran Yuhi Sekiguchi was an impressive sixth for B-Max Racing, the Super Formula star heading Prema's Callum Ilott.

Ilott was another to join the track late at the end - in his case he had a few minor problems that needed tweaking - and said: "I only did three laps - can't everyone keep it on the track for two laps?"

Formula Renault Eurocup champion Sacha Fenestraz was a strong eighth for Carlin, from free practice pacesetter Sergio Sette Camara, whose crash at Fishermen's Bend (pictured above) caused the third red flag and a delay of almost an hour while barriers were repaired.

Prema's Ferrari junior Guan Yu Zhou rounded out the top 10.

The other red flags were caused by 'Dragon' and Alex Palou, the Spaniard crashing and coming to rest on Faraway Hill.

Qualifying one result

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Lando Norris Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 2m11.570s -
2 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 2m12.482s 0.912s
3 Maximilian Guenther SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Dallara/Mercedes 2m12.619s 1.049s
4 Dan Ticktum Motopark with VEB Dallara/Volkswagen 2m13.317s 1.747s
5 Joel Eriksson Motopark with VEB Dallara/Volkswagen 2m13.637s 2.067s
6 Callum Ilott SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Dallara/Mercedes 2m13.739s 2.169s
7 Sacha Fenestraz Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 2m13.818s 2.248s
8 Sergio Sette Camara Motopark with VEB Dallara/Volkswagen 2m13.884s 2.314s
9 Guanyu Zhou SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Dallara/Mercedes 2m14.055s 2.485s
10 Kenta Yamashita B-MAX Racing Team Dallara/Volkswagen 2m14.281s 2.711s
11 Ralf Aron Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 2m14.347s 2.777s
12 Mick Schumacher SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Dallara/Mercedes 2m14.608s 3.038s
13 Tadasuke Makino Motopark with VEB Dallara/Volkswagen 2m14.670s 3.100s
14 Ferdinand Habsburg Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 2m14.688s 3.118s
15 Jehan Daruvala Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 2m14.868s 3.298s
16 Sho Tsuboi TOM'S Dallara/Toyota 2m15.085s 3.515s
17 Marino Sato Motopark with VEB Dallara/Volkswagen 2m15.416s 3.846s
18 Devlin Defrancesco Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 2m15.977s 4.407s
19 Ritomo Miyata TOM'S Dallara/Toyota 2m17.482s 5.912s
20 Alex Palou ThreeBond Racing with Drago Corse Dallara/Threebond 2m17.992s 6.422s
- Dragon B-MAX Racing Team Dallara/Volkswagen - -
- Yuhi Sekiguchi B-MAX Racing Team Dallara/Volkswagen - -


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