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Da Costa edges out Ilott for victory in Macau qualifying race


Antonio Felix da Costa will start the 63rd Macau Grand Prix from pole position after edging out Callum Ilott for victory in Saturday’s qualifying race.

Andretti Formula E racer da Costa won the Formula 3 race back in 2012, but decided to return by taking up Carlin’s offer to join its Macau line-up.

Da Costa started third on Saturday and was able to move up to second early on before the race was put behind the safety car following a mighty shunt towards the back of the field.

Lando Norris, Maximillian Gunther and Antoine Hubert all shunted at the high-speed Mandarin corner, littering the track with debris, while Hong Li Ye’s car was sent flying into the air after running into the back of teammate Daiki Sasaki. Remarkably, both escaped injury in a terrifying crash.

British youngster Ilott led on the restart on Lap 5, but da Costa was able to make use of the slipstream afforded by the long straights at Macau to pull ahead and take the lead.

The two drivers traded fastest lap times for the remainder of the race and pulled away from the rest of the field, but da Costa did enough to hold on and win by 0.850 seconds at the checkered flag.

“Experience counts - I was able to push hard from the start while the others took a little while to settle in,” da Costa said, before adding that pole may be a disadvantage.

“Maybe second or third starting position would be better, so I can get a tow,” he said.

Behind da Costa and Ilott, Red Bull junior Sergio Sette Camara rounded out the podium, finishing ahead of Japanese youngster Kenta Yamashita and pole-sitter George Russell.

Formula E driver Felix Rosenqvist ended up sixth, leaving the Swede with a mountain to climb if he wants to become the first man to win three consecutive Macau F3 races.

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