Macau GP: Rosenqvist handed qualifier victory, Giovinazzi penalised
Antonio Giovinazzi took a win on the road in the qualification race for the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, but was given a post-race time penalty for his part in an opening lap clash with Daniel Juncadella, handing the victory to Felix Rosenqvist.
Pole position man Rosenqvist had got away cleanly at the start, as Juncadella slotted in behind him on the run down to Lisboa.
By the time they got in to the braking zone, Giovinazzi had managed to muscle himself inside Juncadella – and the pair made contact on the short blast to San Franscisco Bend as they battled for position.
That clash spun Juncadella out, who crashed in to the barriers – before being collected by several of his rivals.
With the track semi-blocked, the safety car was called out – leaving Rosenqvist ahead of Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc.
At the restart, Giovinazzi capitalised on the slip stream to slot past Rosenqvist and grab the lead – before steadily pulling clear, as Charles Leclerc stayed in touch in third place.
Behind the leading trio, Alexander Sims took Sam MacLeod for fourth on the run to Lisboa on lap four and then set about on closing the gap ahead of him.
At the front, Giovinazzi managed to break clear of Rosenqvist, but the pursuing Swede worked hard to steadily close down the gap.
At the start of the last lap, Rosenqvist was close enough to get in to Giovinazzi's slipstream on the run to Lisboa but could not quite find a way past.
And a mistake by Rosenqvist at the Melco hairpin, where he braked too deep and ran wide, left Giovinazzi clear at the front to win by 1.9 seconds.
Leclerc got within half a second of Rosenqvist thanks to the Melco incident, with Sims finishing fourth, ahead of MacLeod and Markus Pommer.
As soon as the chequered flag came out, it was announced that Giovinazzi would be given a drive-through penalty for the Juncadella incident – although this was subsequently turned into a 20-second time penalty that demoted him to 10th.
Despite the stewards discussing the matter after the race to see if there was grounds for them to reconsider, in the end it was deemed that the penalty would stand.
Rosenqvist admitted afterwards that he had no answer to Giovinazzi's pace, which is why the manner of his win felt a bit strange.
"He did a good job in the beginning and I couldn't follow him in the first couple of laps," said the Prema driver. "I was having a lot of sliding with the car and I thought I would crash if I tried more.
"So I was waiting to see if we had a different tyre strategy and then in the end I picked up the pace compared to him – but it was not enough to catch him. I would need a couple more laps.
"If he deserved the penalty or not I don't know, but he did a really good job. It is maybe not the best way to win but it is good or tomorrow."
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