Antonio Felix da Costa has capped his superb 2012 season with victory in the Macau Grand Prix Formula 3 race.
Starting from pole position after winning Saturday’s qualification race around the notorious street circuit in the former Portuguese colony, Carlin driver Felix da Costa initially lost the lead as Felix Rosenqvist made another fast start.
Felix da Costa was back at the head of the field though by the time he turned in for Lisboa on that opening lap. Behind him, Daniel Juncadella threw away his hopes of retaining the title as he glanced the tyre barrier at the final turn on the first lap, forcing him to retire to the pits.
The safety car made an appearance as Lucas Wolf’s car was retrieved from the barriers at Maternity, and at the restart Rosenqvist used the slipstream to look for a way past Felix da Costa. The Red Bull Junior held the inside line though, forcing Rosenqvist to stay put.
That’s how it remained until the finish, Felix da Costa adding the prestigious Macau title to his numerous victories in GP3 and Formula Renault 3.5 this season. Behind Rosenqvist, Alex Lynn completed the podium, the Essex driver finishing an impressive rookie weekend that saw him top qualifying by hanging on to the two leaders for the duration of the 15 lap race.
Lynn’s fellow rookie Pascal Wehrlein also stayed with the leaders throughout, while GP2 regular Felipe Nasr finished close behind in fifth. Nasr’s fellow Brazilian Pipo Derani finished a surprise sixth after making up a number of places both at the start of the race and the restart following the safety car. Carlos Sainz Jr recovered from a poor launch to finish on Derani’s tail in seventh, passing Raffaele Marciello, Harry Tincknell and William Buller in the closing stages.
There were two sizable shunts towards the end of the race. Japanese F3 champion Ryo Hirakawa finished off a difficult weekend when he slid into the barriers at the R-bend for the second time this weekend, leaving fellow newcomer Lucas Auer with nowhere to go other than hit Hirakawa’s car as it rebounded off the tyre wall. Auer’s Van Amersfoort Racing teammate Dennis van de Laar soon joined him in retirement as he tangled wheels with Luis Sa Silva on the run down to Lisboa, Sa Silva having also spun on the opening lap.