Auer fastest in crash-strewn Macau practice


Austrian Lucas Auer topped the opening practice session at Macau in a session disrupted by a number of crashes and incidents.

The Mücke Motorsport driver set a best time of 2m14.645s late in the session to confirm his top spot after trading times with Tom Blomqvist of Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, with the Briton falling to third behind his Italian team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi in the dying seconds of the session.

Formula Renault 3.5 Series star William Buller was fourth for Signature, ahead of Jordan King of Carlin, while Felix Rosenqvist was sixth in the second Mücke Motorsport machine.

Max Verstappen was seventh for Van Amersfoort Racing as he begins his final Formula 3 race weekend before starting his Formula 1 career in 2015, just ahead of Nicholas Latifi in the leading of the SJM Theodore Racing by Prema entries.

GP2 Series race winner Stefano Coletti was ninth for EuroInternational, while Sean Galael put the third Jagonya Ayam with Carlin machine into the top ten.

The session had been initially delayed by an hour due to repair work on barriers that had been damaged in a previous session, and it saw B-Max Racing Team driver Mitsunori Takaboshi crash into the barriers at Moorish Hill, causing a red flag.

Unfortunately for European Formula 3 Champion Esteban Ocon, the Frenchman was unable to avoid the stricken machine of the Japanese driver and damaged his front suspension, ending his session early; Ocon ended fourteenth fastest.

Sam MacLeod was another to crash at the same corner after just fifteen minutes of the session, while Richard Goddard was the third victim of the corner after the resumption of the session after Takaboshi’s crash.

Dan Wells, making his International Formula 3 debut for Toda Racing, had the biggest accident of the day, crashing into the barriers at Fisherman’s Bend and damaging the rear end of his car, although the Briton was able to walk away from the incident unharmed.

Post-session it was revealed that Ocon and Verstappen would both drop two places on the grid for the qualifying race on Saturday after passing a red light during the session and missing weight checks.

As well as Ocon and Verstappen, MacLeod was also penalised post-session with a one-place grid drop after crossing the pit lane exit line.

Macau Free Practice 1 Times

POS DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME
1 Lucas Auer AUT Mücke Motorsport 2:14.645
2 Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 2:14.700
3 Tom Blomqvist GBR Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 2:14.835
4 William Buller GBR Signature 2:15.154
5 Jordan King GBR Carlin 2:15.225
6 Felix Rosenqvist SWE Mücke Motorsport 2:15.277
7 Max Verstappen NED Van Amersfoort Racing 2:15.425
8 Nicholas Latifi CAN SJM Theodore Racing by Prema 2:15.451
9 Stefano Coletti MON EuroInternational 2:15.893
10 Sean Galael INO Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 2:15.896
11 Nick Cassidy NZL ThreeBond with T-Sport 2:16.044
12 Markus Pommer GER Motopark 2:16.433
13 Felix Serralles PUE Team West-Tec F3 2:16.605
14 Esteban Ocon FRA SJM Theodore Racing by Prema 2:16.849
15 Martin Cao CHN Fortec Motorsports 2:17.195
16 Alex Palou ESP Fortec Motorsports 2:17.275
17 Tatiana Calderon COL Mücke Motorsport 2:17.407
18 Yu Kanamaru JAP Carlin 2:17.463
19 Antonio Fuoco ITA SJM Theodore Racing by Prema 2:17.511
20 Santino Ferrucci ITA Fortec Motorsports 2:17.533
21 Gustavo Menezes USA Van Amersfoort Racing 2:18.043
22 Dan Wells GBR Toda Racing 2:18.060
23 Roberto Merhi ESP Double R Racing 2:18.501
24 Kenta Yamashita JAP TOMS 2:19.561
25 Andy Chang MAC Team West-Tec F3 2:19.633
26 Mitsunori Takaboshi JAP B-Max Racing Team 2:20.433
27 Sam MacLoed GBR TOMS 2:21.036
28 Richard Goddard AUS ThreeBond with T-Sport 2:21.648