Red Bull Junior Team driver Dan Ticktum has put himself on provisional pole for the Macau Grand Prix.
The 2017 Macau GP race winner pipped Callum Ilott, who has returned to Formula 3 machinery for this weekend, by 0.132 seconds.
With a strong chance of rain for the sessions on Friday, it is likely this will remain the front row for Saturday’s qualification race.
Ticktum and Ilott ran in tandem, with the latter leading the pair which allowed Ticktum to have a tow off Ilott whereas Ilott did not have one.
As is to be expected at Macau, the session was disrupted by three red flags.
The first stoppage after fifteen minutes when local driver Hon Chio Leong swiped the barriers at Turn 16 with his HiTech GP machine coming to a stop sideways across the track.
It was after this stoppage that Ticktum took advantage of fresh rubber to set the best lap of the session during a spell of him and Ilott battling hard for the top spot.
Ilott, chose to only change two tyres during this stoppage which gives him a two tyre advantage for the weekend over his closest competitors.
With five minutes to go, the red flag was out for a second time when Enaam Ahmed suffered a near identical accident to his team-mate at Turn 16, also ending up sideways across the track.
The drivers attempted to go quicker when the action resumed but Sena Sakaguchi ran wide at the final corner, hitting the barrier and his damaged car ending up against the wall on the start/finish straight.
With the red flags out for a third time and not enough time to complete a lap, the session came to a premature end with Ticktum’s effort keeping him on the top spot from Ilott and the 2018 FIA European Formula 3 champion Mick Schumacher
Schumacher made his improvement to third just before the second red flag was brought out, and one of the last improvements of the session.
Jake Hughes was fourth for HiTech, who like his fellow Briton Ilott is returning to F3 from the GP3 Series this weekend.
The third spot was briefly held by Super Formula’s Yuhi Sekiguchi, which ended the session as the fifth fastest time, and just one place ahead of Carlin‘s Sacha Fenestraz.
BMW DTM driver Joel Eriksson is another F3 returnee this weekend, and had been quickest at the first stoppage from Motopark team-mate Jüri Vips, but both delayed their exits from the pits and got stuck in traffic.
As a result they failed to improve and slumped to seventh and eleventh respectively.
Alex Palou, Ferdinand Habsburg and Sho Tsuboi completed the top ten.
Schumacher was the only Prema driver to make it into the top ten, with his team-mates ending up in thirteenth (Marcus Armstrong), fourteenth (Guan Yu Zhou), eighteenth (Ralf Aron) and nineteenth (Robert Shwartzman).
Action resumes for practice two at 11.30 local time on Friday.
Macau Grand Prix Qualifying 1 Results
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