Antonio Felix da Costa triumphed in the qualifying race around the streets of Macau after an excellent restart following an early safety car allowed him to pass Callum Ilott and assume the lead.
Van Amersfoort Racing’s Ilott had taken the lead on the opening lap from second on the grid as polesitter George Russell dropped to fourth heading into Lisboa, with Carlin driver Felix da Costa moving into second and Sergio Sette Câmara into third, but the race was soon neutralised due to a number of incidents at Mandarin Bend.
Maximilian Günther, Anthoine Hubert and Lando Norris all hit the outside wall after finding a distinct lack of grip on cold tyres on the opening lap, but the biggest incident was to befall B-Max Racing team-mates Daiki Sasaki and Hong Li Ye, with the latter riding over the former as they attempted to avoid the debris on track.
Hubert, Norris and Ye were all out on the spot, with Günther retiring in the pits at the end of the lap, although Sasaki returned to the race when his team repaired his damaged car, albeit finishing two laps down on the race winner.
When the race got underway, Felix da Costa made his move into Lisboa after slipstreaming Ilott, and despite pressure from the Briton throughout the remainder of the race – the duo were the fastest on track and swapped fastest laps until the end – the Portuguese driver was able to see the chequered flag first, 0.850 seconds ahead of Ilott.
Sette Câmara made it two Carlin drivers in the top three, while Russell lost out for fourth to Kenta Yamashita of ThreeBond with T-Sport with just a few laps remaining as the Japanese racer passed the Hitech GP racer into Lisboa.
Two-time defending Macau Grand Prix winner Felix Rosenqvist was sixth for SJM Theodore Racing by Prema, the Swede finishing on the tail of Russell ahead of him, while Daniel Juncadella was seventh for Hitech GP after getting the better of Double R Racing duo Daniel Ticktum and Alexander Sims, who finished eighth and ninth respectively.
Jake Hughes completed the top ten for Carlin, but there was disappointment for Nick Cassidy, who was running seventh and on the tail of team-mate Rosenqvist before mechanical issues saw him drop to eleventh at the chequered flag, just ahead of Pedro Piquet, David Beckmann and Arjun Maini.
The main race gets away on Sunday, with Felix da Costa on pole position from Ilott, with Sette Câmara, Yamashita, Russell and Rosenqvist behind.
Macau Grand Prix Qualifying Race Result
POS NO. DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME
1 29 Antonio Felix da Costa POR Carlin 27:07.011
2 20 Callum Ilott GBR Van Amersfoort Racing +0.850
3 27 Sergio Sette Camara BRZ Carlin +5.030
4 11 Kenta Yamashita JAP ThreeBond with T-Sport +5.797
5 8 George Russell GBR Hitech GP +7.351
6 1 Felix Rosenqvist SWE SJM Theodore Racing by Prema +7.889
7 9 Daniel Juncadella ESP Hitech GP +10.136
8 31 Daniel Ticktum GBR Double R Racing +17.416
9 30 Alexander Sims GBR Double R Racing +17.859
10 28 Jake Hughes GBR Carlin +20.564
11 3 Nick Cassidy NZL SJM Theodore Racing by Prema +21.050
12 22 Pedro Piquet BRZ Van Amersfoort Racing +21.358
13 23 David Beckmann GER Mucke Motorsport +21.607
14 17 Arjun Maini IND Motopark +21.996
15 16 Joel Eriksson SWE Motopark +24.194
16 12 Wing Chung Chang MAC ThreeBond with T-Sport +24.940
17 33 Ferdinand Habsburg AUT Fortec Motorsport +26.006
18 10 Nikita Mazepin RUS Hitech GP +28.215
19 19 Tadasuke Makino JAP Toda Racing +31.905
20 5 Jann Mardenborough GBR B-Max Racing Team +32.589
21 15 Sho Tsuboi JAP Team TOM's +33.073
22 25 Keyvan Andres GER Mucke Motorsport +34.143
23 32 Sam MacLeod GBR Fortec Motorsport +56.743
N/C 6 Daiki Sasaki JAP B-Max Racing Team Not Classified
N/C 18 Guanyu Zhou CHN Motopark Not Classified
RET 2 Maximilian Gunther GER SJM Theodore Racing by Prema Retired
RET 26 Lando Norris GBR Carlin Retired
RET 21 Anthoine Hubert FRA Van Amersfoort Racing Retired
RET 7 Hongli Ye CHN B-Max Racing Team Retired