Wittmann Wins Macau Grand Prix Qualification Race
German Marco Wittmann triumphed in the “SJM” Macau Grand Prix Qualification Race on Saturday with a dominant performance as he led every lap.
The Signature driver got away perfectly from pole position, after front row starter Antonio da Costa failed to get away because of a broken first gear.
Despite Wittmann briefly losing the lead to Carlin’s Felipe Nasr on the run to Lisboa, he was able to retake the front spot as they turned into the corner.
Wittmann then pushed hard to open up an advantage over the remainder of the opening lap, and he crossed the finish line 1.1 seconds clear of Nasr – before steadily extending his lead up to 1.5 seconds by lap four.
By this stage Nasr was coming under pressure from the fast-starting Roberto Merhi, who had moved up from eighth on the grid to fourth place by the end of the opening lap. His charge was helped in part by da Costa’s stall and Alexander Sims, who was supposed to start fourth, crashing on the way to the grid.
Merhi dived past Valtteri Bottas under braking for Lisboa on lap two to take third place and then he closed in on Nasr. But despite a few attempts to overtake the Brazilian at Lisboa – with the pair getting extremely close at the start of lap nine – the Spaniard could not find a way past.
Their battle eventually ended when the safety car came out on lap nine, after Jimmy Eriksson crashed his Motopark car at the Faraway section of track. His damaged machine was left stranded on the track.
The race finished under the safety car, with Wittmann coming home ahead of Nasr and Merhi. Bottas finished fourth, ahead of Carlos Huertas and Daniel Juncadella.
Speaking about his success Wittmann said: “It is never easy in Macau, and it was important I made a good start. I did that, and then I pushed hard to build up a good gap which was key to the win.”