Marco Wittmann won the qualification race ahead of the 58th Macau GP with a measured drive from pole position, with Felipe Nasr and Roberto Merhi close behind.

After clinching pole position on Friday morning at the illustrious street circuit, Wittmann lead unchallenged off the line as fellow front-row starter Antonio Felix da Costa suffered a broken gearbox merely seconds after the green lights. With the Portuguese driver side-lined, Nasr, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Huertas followed Wittmann into Lisboa corner before climbing into the twisting streets of downtown Macau.

Further behind, the penalised but incredibly fast Roberto Merhi immediately began carving his way through the field. The Spanish F3Euroseries champion moved up to 4th from 8th on the grid, aided by da Costa’s retirement and an unusual crash for Alexander Sims before the race even began. On the 2nd lap, Merhi slipstreamed Bottas on the long straight down to Lisboa to take 3rd place from the Finn, before setting his sights on Nasr.

Merhi soon caught up with the Brazilian, who trailed Wittmann by just over a second throughout. Despite several looks down the inside, the Spaniard struggled to find a way past. A slipstreaming opportunity for Merhi on lap 9 was also dashed as the safety car emerged a few seconds into the lap – a big shunt for Jimmy Eriksson at Faraway saw the race finish under the safety car, allowing Wittmann to calmly take the win.

Bottas finished a solid 4th ahead of Carlos Huertas and Daniel Juncadella. Laurens Vanthoor finished ahead of Signature team-mate Daniel Abt, and impressive performances from Kimiya Sato and Hannes van Asseldonk earned them 9th and 10th respectively.

Wittmann, while pleased with the result, claimed his focus was on tomorrow’s main event: “It is always nice to win, and stand on top of a podium, but for sure we will not celebrate much because it is just a qualification race,” said Wittmann. “The race tomorrow is the most important one, and that is the one we want to win.”

Wittmann also expects to be pushed hard in Sunday’s race. “I think for sure tomorrow will be more aggressive,” he said. “It is a race where you have to be. Everyone gets more confident with the track and conditions, but that is not only the others – for me it is the same situation. I will try to win. I want to win, and we will do all our best to do that.”

Roberto Merhi is perhaps the most confident ahead of the GP, as a successful qualification race helped him nullify his Saturday grid penalties – he will start 3rd tomorrow. “Third place is okay, because I think it is the best position for the start,” said the Prema driver. “Last year [Daniel] Abt started third and he was P1 at Lisboa, so I think it is a really good place to be.

“I think I am really quick and maybe the quickest, maybe not.” he added. “We will see tomorrow. Everything looks right, I feel comfortable and I think tomorrow will be a good day.”

The finishing order, and resultant starting grid for Sunday’s 58th Macau GP –

Results - 10 laps:

Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
 1.  Marco Wittmann          Signature Dallara-VW       25m03.719s
 2.  Felipe Nasr             Carlin Dallara-VW            + 0.867s
 3.  Roberto Merhi           Prema Dallara-Merc           + 3.483s
 4.  Valtteri Bottas         Double R Dallara-Merc        + 4.270s
 5.  Carlos Huertas          Carlin Dallara-VW            + 4.850s
 6.  Daniel Juncadella       Prema Dallara-Merc           + 5.381s
 7.  Laurens Vanthoor        Signature Dallara-VW         + 6.512s
 8.  Daniel Abt              Signature Dallara-VW         + 7.228s
 9.  Kimiya Sato             Motopark Dallara-VW          + 8.154s
10.  Hannes van Asseldonk    Hitech Dallara-VW            + 9.337s
11.  Hideki Yamauchi         Toda Dallara-Honda          + 10.200s
12.  Yuhi Sekiguchi          Mucke Dallara-Merc          + 10.789s
13.  William Buller          Fortec Dallara-Merc         + 11.086s
14.  Lucas Foresti           Fortec Dallara-Merc         + 11.517s
15.  Richie Stanaway         Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW   + 12.167s
16.  Hywel Lloyd             Sino Vision Dallara-Merc    + 12.888s
17.  Jazeman Jaafar          Carlin Dallara-VW           + 13.967s
18.  Marko Asmer             Double R Dallara-Merc       + 14.933s
19.  Kevin Magnussen         Carlin Dallara-VW           + 15.558s
20.  Carlos Sainz Jr         Signature Dallara-VW        + 16.388s
21.  Felix Rosenqvist        Mucke Dallara-Merc          + 16.924s
22.  Mitch Evans             Double R Dallara-Merc       + 18.601s


     Jimmy Eriksson          Motopark Dallara-VW            7 laps
     Adderly Fong            Sino Vision Dallara-Merc       6 laps
     Richard Bradley         TOM's Dallara-Toyota           5 laps
     Antonio Felix da Costa  Hitech Dallara-VW              4 laps
     Hironobu Yasuda         Three Bond Dallara-Nissan      3 laps
     Carlos Munoz            Signature Dallara-VW            1 lap
     Pietro Fantin           Hitech Dallara-VW              0 laps
     Alexander Sims          TOM'S Dallara-Toyota           0 laps

Macau Grand Prix timetable
Sun 20 Nov – 1530 (0730 GMT) Macau Grand Prix