General Formula 3

Armstrong Impresses on Macau Debut

2 Mins read
Credit: James Gasperotti

The historic Macau Grand Prix took place last weekend, and is one of the most prestigious events on the motorsport calendar.

Revered by drivers, the tight and twisty challenge that is the streets of Macau makes it one of the worlds most thrilling circuits.

Young drivers are given the chance to really prove themselves on the world stage there.

Marcus Armstrong made his debut around the streets this year, and was looking to round off his strong rookie season in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with a strong result at the event.

Armstrong showed promising pace and gained a lot of data ahead of qualifying.

Despite a session which was littered with red flags due to incidents the young Kiwi took it into his stride.

“My pace was a lot better than on paper, I caught a red flag when I was half a second quicker and I had made a small mistake the lap before, so both laps had good potential. If it’s dry tomorrow, we can do a really good job. This track is mental, there is no room for error and it definitely separates the men from the boys.”

Pushing to the limits, Armstrong claimed fourth early on but when attempting another hot lap he brushed the barrier which ended his session early.

Though, his early pace meant it was enough for eighth.

“I was fast at the beginning, but breaking for the hairpin, I just collected the wall. It was a lot of fun and P8 is a great position considering I only did one push lap.”

Lining up for the qualifying race on Saturday, with the intentions of getting the best starting position for Sunday’s race, the New Zealander suffered from an overheating clutch at the lights and was hampered as the field powered away.

He soon set about chasing down his rivals and claimed back his positions by the third only for his charge to be halted by safety car.

Holding off Jüri Vips at the restart, the Estonian eventually got the better of Armstrong on the long straight.

On Sunday, after a prolonged red flag period as a result of Sophia Flörsch‘s horrific crash, the race resumed under safety car.

With Vips once again hot on his tail, Armstrong could not hold of his rival and was resigned to ninth place.

As the time ticked on, the pair engaged in an immense battle to the flag and were just inches apart.

However, Vips received a post-race disqualification for undertaking under a red flag which meant Armstrong was promoted to eighth and as a result the top rookie honour belonged to him.

“This track is right up there as one of my favourites, but my thoughts are with Sophia and all those caught up in the incident. It’s never good to see and I hope they make a strong and speedy recovery”

 “I would like to thank Prema, Rene (Rosin), SJM, Teddy, Ferrari and the FDA (Ferrari Driver Academy) for all their support this season – it’s been a memorable year.”

The belief is that the Kiwi will remain with Prema next year in the inaugural season of the FIA Formula 3 International Championship but they are yet to announce anyone to their line up.

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