Super Swede: Felix Rosenqvist doubles up in Macau | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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Super Swede: Felix Rosenqvist doubles up in Macau

Felix Rosenqvist (SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Powerteam) crowned an already great season, in which he won the FIA Formula 3 European Championship title, in perfect style by winning the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup.

With victory in the race, covering 15 laps of the 6.120 kilometres long Guia Circuit on the streets of Macau, Rosenqvist doubled up after his success from the previous year, becoming only the second back-to-back Macau Grand Prix winner in the Formula 3 era after Edoardo Mortara in 2009/2010. “It gets better every time, I guess,” Rosenqvist said after the finish. The best-placed Macau rookie, Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing) shone with some spectacular overtaking manoeuvres and also led the race, but eventually had to make do with second place. Brit Alexander Sims (Double R Racing) finished in third place.

With Daniel Juncadella (Fortec Motorsports), another former Macau race winner was missing from the race. Following his crash in yesterday’s qualification race, his car turned out to be damaged beyond immediate repair. As a result, 27 cars lined up on the grid for the feature race, the undisputed highlight of the 62nd running of the Macau Grand Prix. After the usual ceremonies that included the traditional Lion’s Dance and the official welcome of the drivers by Dr. Fernando Chui Sai On, the Chief Executive of Macau, action got underway.

Starting from pole position, Felix Rosenqvist took the lead as the lights went out, but a charging Charles Leclerc used the benefit of the slipstream on the long straight to Lisboa corner and overtook the Swede on the outside to take the lead. The field returned from the opening lap with Leclerc leading from Rosenqvist, MacLeod (Team West-Tec F3), Sims , Sette Câmara (Motopark) and Pommer (Motopark). Going into lap two, Rosenqvist claimed back the lead by overtaking Leclerc from the slipstream, but under braking for Lisboa, Leclerc restored the order again in exactly the same way as one lap earlier. Then, the red flags flew following a three-car crash involving Gustavo Menezes (Carlin), Mitsunori Takaboshi (B-Max Racing Team) and Ryan Tveter (Team West-Tec F3). All three drivers escaped unscathed, but the cars had to be removed from the track. 

After some 20 minutes, action resumed behind the safety car and the green flags were waved at the start of lap four. Rosenqvist and MacLeod used the slipstream to overtake Leclerc for first and second place. One lap later, Sims also tried to make a move past Leclerc, but to no avail. On lap seven, Leclerc once again tried his familiar move on the outside of Lisboa and thus overtook MacLeod, after which he was second again. On lap eight, MacLeod made contact with the barriers in an attempt to keep Sims at bay. At the end of the lap, MacLeod came into the pits to have the right rear tyre of his car replaced. At that time, Rosenqvist was leading from Leclerc, Sims, Giovinazzi (Carlin with, Pommer, Ferrucci (KFZ-Teile 24 Mücke Motorsport), Stroll (SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Powerteam) and Lorandi (Van Amersfoort Racing).

In the final third of the race, the Macau race lap record, established by Felix Rosenqvist in yesterday’s qualification race, was beaten several times, also by Rosenqvist himself, but eventually, Brazilian Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark) emerged as the new race lap record holder with his lap time of 2:10.186 minutes, posted on the 15th and final lap of the race. Out in front, Rosenqvist crossed the finish line as the undisputed winner, followed by Leclerc as the best-placed Macau rookie, and Alexander Sims. Antonio Giovinazzi made good progress from tenth on the grid to finish fourth from Markus Pommer, Santino Ferrucci and two further Macau novices, Alessio Lorandi, who made Van Amersfoort Racing the only team with two drivers in the top ten, and Lance Stroll. Stroll’s team-mate Jake Dennis (SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Powerteam) and Arjun Maini (ThreeBond with T-Sport) rounded out the top ten.

Quotes of the three best-placed drivers after the main race:

Felix Rosenqvist:

“It gets better every time, I guess. I don’t see a difference from my win last year, it feels as good. This race is so difficult to win, even with perfect preparation. You still have to put it on track. In the beginning, I felt comfortable with the car. I was really strong and not really worried when Charles overtook me. I was confident that I could get it back and pull away. After the restart, I was able to overtake him from the slipstream. Later on, he caught up again, but I never was on the point that I had to defend. However, here you need only one mistake, and I would have been off. It was a very tough race. The battle with Charles was quite enjoyable.”

Charles Leclerc:

“I am always disappointed when I am not first, so, yes, I am slightly disappointed to have finished second. It is still a good result, especially considering that I was on used tyres. We were quite fast at the beginning, but Felix was faster and after the safety car, I couldn’t do anything. I struggled to pass Sam, but I caught him again. All in all, I am happy to be second. The red flag was a bit unfortunate, but I probably would have had a hard time to stay in front anyway. But it is like this, this is Macau, and I am still happy to be second.”

Alexander Sims:

“I am happy to be on the podium. When you start on the second row, hopefully, you have a chance to win. The race went well today. Overall, I am very happy to get a podium. I am also happy for the team, it’s been a long year for them, they definitely deserve this result. I am very happy to be on the podium. I won the veteran race this weekend, that is for sure. The pace was good, but the gap to Felix and Charles was too big to overcome.” 

Provisional Classification