Edoardo Mortara wrapped up a perfect Macau weekend with victory in the Sunday morning feature race.
On his way to the chequered flag, the Italian driver also took the fastest lap in his Signature Racing machine, to go along with the pole position and Qualifying Race victory – both of which he claimed yesterday.
He didn’t have it all his own way – early on challenges from team mate’s Daniel Abt and Laurens Vanthoor made sure that Mortara was kept busy at the front.
As per usual, there were messy scenes in the pack. As the lights went out, Michael Ho stalled on the grid, only to be hit by the unsighted Alexander Sims, giving the race an early safety car period – but not before Daniel Juncadella stuck his Prema Powerteam car into the fences at Lisboa.
For Sims, it had been something of a luckless weekend – the young Briton also suffered a first lap accident in yesterday’s Qualifying Race. In the mess, Sims’ Raikkonen-Robertson Racing team mates, Carlos Munoz and Rio Haryanto also retired.
The race got going again at the start of lap 3, but not for very long. While the field stormed into the slow and longing Lisboa turn, both Abt and Vanthoor jumped ahead of Mortara with Abt leading the trio.
Sadly for the 17-year-old, excitement got the better of him as the youthful German speared his machine into the barrier at the exit of Maternity Bend. Another safety car.
With Abt’s wreckage laid bare at a difficult part of the circuit, the race was held stationary it until the beginning of lap 7. Seeing only Vanthoor ahead of him, Mortara knew that would be his chance to retake the lead and he did so, slipstreaming aggressively by the Belgian prior to Lisboa.
From here Mortara extended his lead over his fellow Signature runner, making sure that he would not be caught again.
While things remained all square out front, behind the leaders drivers were still pushing hard for places – including Valtteri Bottas. The Finn had a difficult qualifying race, as his car struggled with poor straight-line speed, but a reconfigured car allowed him to lunge passed the half-asleep Marco Wittmann for 3rd.
Bottas would soon pick up the rear of 2nd place Vanthoor, but the Signature man always had just enough to stay ahead of the Finn; although it was close, Bottas was always 0.5 of-a-second too far behind – never close enough to make a decisive move.
More impressive was GP3 regular Roberto Mehri. The Spaniard was left to start from 22nd position following a last lap car failure in yesterday’s Qualifying Race; however by the 9th lap Mehri had already moved into the top 12. He would continue to slice through the pack, starting with Hideki Yamauchi (lap 10), Felipe Nasr (lap 11), Carlos Huertas (lap 13) and Felix Rosenqvist (lap 15) to steal a stunning 8th place.
Regardless of Mehri’s efforts, it was Mortara that took the spoils and the headlines with an emphatic run to the flag, having never looked threatened once he reclaimed the lead from Vanthoor. Mortara was, quite reasonably, delighted with the result:
“It’s a great feeling and a great honour for me to be in the history books, but all I have done is win this Grand Prix twice. We don’t have to forget that every year, it’s a tough competition. This year it was a big fight too. We were pushing really hard and I was really pushing hard. It was really tough for me.”
With this, not only does the Italian becomes the first driver to win two single-seater races at the prestigious Macau Grand Prix since Geoff Rees was victorious in 1980, but Mortara also becomes the first to achieve this feat in a Formula 3 years.
Laurens Vanthoor claimed 2nd just ahead of the feisty Bottas, but they were some way ahead of lonely Marco Wittmann in 4th. Neither Vanthoor nor Bottas were too disappointed with their podiums though:
“I am happy with my second place, it is a really good result for this kind of race. I really wanted to win but I must admit that Edoardo was stronger than me. He was faster and did a better job – and he deserves the win, and deserves to be in the history books as a two-time Macau winner,” said Vanthoor.
Bottas added that:
“I was catching him lap-by-lap a little bit, but it was just not enough. On the second last lap, when I would have had a chance to catch him at the end of the straight, it was not a perfect lap and I didn’t catch him enough. I am happy for the team and happy for Mercedes-Benz, as it was quite short notice that we came here, that we got on the podium.”
Renger van der Zande made a late move for 5th passed Antonio Felix da Costa; however neither felt worried by the presence of 7th place Jean-Eric Vergne.
Behind the 8th place Mehri were Felix Rosenqvist (9th), Carlos Huertas (10th), Felipe Nasr (11th). Alexander Imperatori came home a wonderful 12th after starting 26th – late moved passed Yamauchi (13th) and Jazeman Jaafar (14th) were enough to him a credible finish.
Will Buller was first home of the British runners; albeit a disappointing 15th and only 0.3 of-a-second ahead of James Calado (16th).
2010 may not have given us a classic Macau Grand Prix by any stretch of the imagination, but it would be hard to not have been impressed by Edoardo Mortara today. The Italian kept his composure when behind his teammates and equally kept his head when he was ahead of them.
With this year’s F3 Euroseries title also in his back pocket, it should be interesting to see what he does next.
Race Rating: 3 out of 5
Feature Race, Formula 3 Grand Prix of Macau (November 21st)
|3.||Valtteri Bottas||Prema Powerteam||+3.156|
|5.||Renger van der Zande||Motopark Academy||+10.631|
|6.||Antonio Felix da Costa||Carlin||+13.173|
|8.||Roberto Merhi||Prema Powerteam||+19.313|
|9.||Felix Rosenqvist||Performance Racing||+20.343|
|10.||Carlos Huertas||Hitech Racing||+21.362|
|11.||Felipe Nasr||Raikkonen Robertson Racing||+22.994|
|12.||Alexandre Imperatori||Toda Racing/KCMG||+23.926|
|13.||Hideki Yamauchi||Hanashima Racing||+25.486|
|15.||William Buller||Fortec Motorsport||+31.563|
|18.||Oliver Webb||Fortec Motorsport||+41.413|
|20.||Yuhi Sekiguchi||Three Bond Racing||+46.198|
|21.||Adderly Fong||Sino Vision Racing||+46.336|
|22.||Lucas Foresti||Fortec Motorsport||+46.731|
|23.||Hywel Lloyd||CF Racing/Manor Motorsport||+49.720|
|24.||Kimiya Sato||Motopark Academy||+52.555|
|Did not finish|
|25.||Daniel Abt||Signature||+13 Laps|
|26.||Rio Haryanto||Raikkonen Robertson Racing||+15 Laps|
|27.||Michael Ho||Raikkonen Robertson Racing||+15 Laps|
|28.||Carlos Munoz||Hitech Racing||+15 Laps|
|29.||Daniel Juncadella||Prema Powerteam||+15 Laps|
|30.||Alexander Sims||Raikkonen Robertson Racing||+15 Laps|