FELIX ROSENQVIST MASTERS MACAU
His year in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship may not have brought entirely what he had hoped for, but Felix Rosenqvist (Kashbet.com by Mücke Motorsport) still concluded the season in style by winning the 61th running of the prestigious Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix. In a 15-lap race that was interrupted following a pile-up on the opening lap, Rosenqvist made most of his pole position, steered clear of any problems and led all the way from lights to flag. With victory in his fifth attempt in Macau, he became only the second Swede to win the classic race on the challenging Guia street circuit after Rickard Rydell in 1992. After a thrilling battle in the closing stages of the race, Rosenqvist’s Austrian team-mate Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) managed to overtake New Zealand’s Nick Cassidy (ThreeBond with T-Sport) and thus completed the 1-2 for Mücke Motorsport. Cassidy came home third from Spanish F3 returnee Roberto Merhi (W66.com Double R Racing) and Canadian Nicholas Latifi (SJM Theodore Racing by Prema).
Only one week after his 23rd birthday, November 7, Felix Rosenqvist gave himself probably the best present with an excellent performance in the Macau Grand Prix. His weekend of racing on the streets in the former Portuguese colony was almost perfect: he topped the time sheets in second free practice and in the combined qualifying result, he won the qualifying race on Saturday and finally took the spoils in the main event on Sunday. For the Swede, it was his second win of the year in a Formula 3 classic after his success in the Pau Grand Prix last May. “This is the most important one of them, the Formula 3 race with the longest history and the most international recognition,” the buoyant winner commented. “I have been on the podium here, I have led the race here, but I had never won so far. Now, I finally managed and that is a great feeling! To be honest, for the first time in my life, I am lost for words. For me, this season was the most difficult since I started in motor racing, but I have managed to end it on a high!” Rosenqvist’s victory also marked the maiden success in Macau for his team Mücke Motorsport and the sixth win for the Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine in the classic Formula 3 race.
In typical Macau style, the race had plenty of action. It already stared as FIA Formula 3 European Champion Esteban Ocon (SJM Theodore by Prema) and Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) tangled while battling for the lead in the first part of the opening lap, which eventually triggered a multi-car pile-up that also caught out Martin Cao (Fortec Motorsports), Yu Kanamaru (Carlin) and Richard Goddard (ThreeBond with T-Sport). The cars of some other drivers were also damaged, but could be repaired during the interruption that followed after the race was red-flagged immediately after the incident. At the re-start after one lap behind the safety car, Mücke Motorsport duo Felix Rosenqvist and Lucas Auer ran in first and second place respectively, but Auer missed his braking point into Lisboa and dropped back to third behind Cassidy. While Rosenqvist gradually built up a comfortable advantage of over four seconds, Auer and Cassidy were battling for second place. On lap 13, Cassidy clipped a wall with the left rear tyre of his car, which allowed Auer to get through. Two laps later, Rosenqvist took the chequered flag as the winner, with Auer completing the 1-2 for Mücke Motorsport. “I had noticed that Nick was going a bit slower and then he hit the wall, which allowed me to get past. Of course, I would have loved to win here, but at the end of the day, I am also happy with second place,” Auer commented.
On his Macau debut, Nick Cassidy was classified third as the best-placed rookie in the field. “Being on the podium here first time out is a pretty cool feeling,” the New Zealander said. “Of course, the aim always is to win, but a podium finish is quite good, too. I am also well pleased with the performance of our NBE-engine.” After a nice late-race battle, Roberto Merhi beat Nicholas Latifi to fourth place while another returnee, Stefano Coletti (Eurointernational) finished sixth. Seventh place went to Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing), who also managed to set the fastest lap time in the race. The Dutchman, who emerged as the best-placed driver to use a Volkswagen engine in his car, made good progress after starting from the back of the grid following his crash in yesterday’s qualifying race. American Santino Ferrucci (Fortec Motorsport), Japanese Kenta Yamashita (TOM’s) and American Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing) rounded out the top ten.
FELIX ROSENQVIST CLAIMS POLE POSITION FOR MACAU QUALIFYING RACE
Felix Rosenqvist (Kashbet.com by Mücke Motorsport, 2:11.506 minutes) will be starting from pole position for tomorrow’s ten lap qualifying race for the 61st running of the Macau Grand Prix. In second qualifying, in which 17 of the first 20 drivers managed to set faster lap times than in yesterday’s first qualifying session, Rosenqvist moved up from his ninth place after yesterday’s session to the top of the time sheets and thus claimed pole position for the Macau qualifying race. “Early in the session, I did two laps, then came in to have four new tyres on the car, and I did my fast lap all on my own,” Rosenqvist reported. “In fact, I was quite surprised that the gap was so big. Indeed, the Swede was no less than 0,236 seconds faster than Esteban Ocon (SJM Theodore Racing by Prema, 2:11.742 minutes), the reigning FIA Formula 3 European Champion. Just with Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing, 2:11.747 minutes), who was classified third after qualifying, Ocon will be dropped two places on the grid for tomorrow’s qualifying race for having failed to come in to have his car weighed in free practice yesterday. As a result, Ocon and Verstappen will be starting from fourth and fifth place respectively. That promoted Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 2:11.838 minutes) to second on the grid alongside Rosenqvist to lock out the front row for the Mücke Motorsport team. Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 2:11.922 minutes), who was fastest in yesterday’s first qualifying and failed to post a faster time today, will be starting from third place.
Competing in the prestigious event in Macau for the fifth time, Rosenqvist clearly was the fastest driver at the 6.12 kilometres long Guia circuit on Friday. In the morning, he was first in free practice with 2:11.743 minutes, making him the only driver to post a sub-2:12 lap time. In second qualifying, the Swede doubled up by claiming pole position. The only blot on his copybook was a crash at Maternity in free practice in the lap after the one in which he set his fastest time. “That was quite stupid, also because I lost two tyres there, which is not very good for the weekend,” Rosenqvist admitted. “But being on pole position makes me quite confident for tomorrow and Sunday. We know that the speed is there.”
Second-fastest qualifyer Esteban Ocon commented: “Today, things were going much better than yesterday. We finally found the speed. Of course, it is a pity that I will be dropped two places, but I am still starting from the second row and we all know that you can overtake in Macau.” Ocon, who made an impressive Formula 3 debut with a top ten finish at Macau last year, is well aware of the significance of the event. “This is the one everybody wants to win, and the race so many great drivers have won in the past. It is the best race in the world.”
Third in qualifying and fifth on the grid, Max Verstappen is the best-placed Macau rookie. “The circuit is really cool,” the Dutchman commented. “Yesterday, I had some problems as the tyres started overheating, but today, I was a able to run faster and faster and I am quite pleased with the result.” Austrian Lucas Auer wasn’t too happy with his fourth fastest time: “I could have gone faster, but starting from the front row obviously is a good position and the performance of Felix and myself shows how strong we are as a team. Now, hopefully, we can convert that into good race results tomorrow and Sunday.” The qualifying race starts tomorrow at 13.45 hrs local time (6.45 hrs CET) and will determine the starting grid positions for the Sunday’s main race, the Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix.
Clark speaks with Nasir about his trip to Texas and his experience at the 2014 United States Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso is not left out of the conversation! It’s obvious to everyone that he has signed a huge contract with McLaren Honda…And we have special interview with up and coming young American driver Logan Sargeant. Don’t forget to get your 2015 Formula 1 calendars here: Samba & Tango
Logan Sargeant: Logan made an impressive junior debut at the SuperNats and has made the move up in Europe as well. Logan will be competing with Ward Racing on a Tony Kart in KF Junior. “Logi” is no stranger to running at the front in Europe and even though he is making a big jump up his natural talen will keep him at the front of the grid.
2014 BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX
Nico Rosberg took victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix after a race-long battle with team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who completed a record-breaking one-two finish for the Silver Arrows at Interlagos.
– Nico took his fifth victory of the season, Lewis his 15th podium finish from eighteen races
– A 15th win of 2014 for the Silver Arrows equals the highest number of victories scored in a single season set by McLaren in 1988
– The 11th one-two finish of 2014 for the team is a new all-time record, surpassing the previous best set in that same year
– The team now has 651 Constructors’ Championship points – the most ever scored in a single season – surpassing the total set by Red Bull in 2011 with one race remaining
– Lewis and Nico head into the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi with just 17 points separating them in the Drivers’ Championship
– Both drivers started on the soft compound Pirelli tyre, stopping three times for mediums throughout the race
That was a fantastic weekend and I felt very comfortable over the whole three days. I had to learn from Austin, which was a big disappointment, and I think I achieved that. I was able to control the pace a bit better and didn’t let Lewis come too close. He drove really well and was always right there pushing me. When he spun I had a bit of time to relax and was able to save some life in the tyres for the end of the stint. That worked out perfectly and it was a great day with another one-two for the team. I was also happy for Felipe to be on the podium with us at his home race. The Brazilian people have been so great to us throughout this the whole weekend so it was also a good day for them. Now we have a great finale to look forward to in Abu Dhabi. I’m still believing 100 per cent that I can make it but, of course, I will need some help from Felipe or Valtteri or Lewis himself.
Naturally, you’ll always be disappointed when you make a mistake and I did that today. But honestly, I felt great out there. The car was strong, my pace was good, I didn’t give up, kept pushing and made up the time so that’s what’s most important to me. Generally, when I’m told to push it means the team is bringing me in that lap so that’s what I did. In the end, they left me out for another lap which caught me by surprise. By the time I came round to do the second lap my rear tyres were gone from where I’d been pushing so hard. Even so, it was my mistake locking up the rears and ultimately that cost me the win. Nico drove a great race – defending well and not making any mistakes. But it’s clear I had the pace. It’s not a big deal, though. That’s motor racing. Obviously, I lost some points which is disappointing. But it’s a great team result with a record-breaking one-two finish and I really enjoyed the race. The car is just fantastic – the best I’ve ever driven – so a big thank you to the team for all their hard work. I’ll be pushing just as hard in Abu Dhabi and hopefully we’ll get to have another great race like we saw today.
It was not an easy race but what a fantastic result for me, for my family, and for the team to finish on the podium in front of my home fans. The energy from the crowd was amazing and really pushed me forward. The car had strong and consistent pace today and this allowed me to stay in third despite issues in my two pitstops. In the first stop I incurred a stop-and-go penalty after speeding in the pit lane after I hit the limiter twice by mistake, and in the second I stopped in the wrong box. We’re not normally next to McLaren and in the light their overalls looked the same colour as ours so this caught me out. In the end these issues were not enough to take away my podium because we had a good aggressive strategy and a really good car.
I’m so proud of the team and what we have achieved today. What you see at the track on a race weekend is just the tip of the iceberg and there are so many hard working, intelligent, good people who contributed to the success of the car and of this season. If I could, I would want to mention the names of everybody. Although you see a couple of public faces, the results are only possible because the team is strong and sticks together. Numbers like 11 one-two finishes, 15 wins and 30 podiums in a season make me incredibly proud of my colleagues and humble at what we have achieved together. Today’s race was a pure battle between Nico and Lewis, with no quarter asked or given. The deciding moment probably came when Lewis spun on lap 28. That gave Nico some breathing room and, although Lewis seemed to have the better speed today, Nico was able to absorb the pressure from then all the way to the flag. It was a fantastic performance from both of them and sets up the prospect of a thrilling finale in Abu Dhabi. No matter which way that race goes, either driver would be a very worthy World Champion at the end of a fantastic season.
2014 BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton secured a seventh consecutive Silver Arrows front row lockout during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.
– The result marks the 17th pole of the season for the Silver Arrows, with P2 for Lewis completing the 11th front row lockout
– Just 33 thousandths of a second separated the pair – equivalent to two metres around a 4.3 km circuit (0.4%)
– Today saw the fastest pole position lap ever set at Interlagos, surpassing the 1:10.646 set by Rubens Barrichello in 2004
Weather – Overcast, mild, humid, dry
Temperatures – Air: 23 – 26°C, Track: 31 – 40°C
I’m very happy with the weekend so far. The last run in qualifying was not my best but it was good enough to start from pole. And I’m pleased to start from the clean side of the grid, which should be a good thing for me. With the team I’ve reviewed why Austin didn’t work out perfectly for me and we’ve done a race simulation already this morning with high fuel levels in the car, so I learned a few things that I can improve and am quite confident I can do a better job in this race. Of course, I need a bit of help from my team-mate to make the World Championship happen. But I’m still highly motivated and will continue to push as hard as I can all the way.
I’m probably happier with second than I’ve ever been and I’m really pleased with the way we qualified as a team. It was so, so close out there and my lap wasn’t perfect, so I know there’s more time to find and where I can find it. I love being right on the limit, racing close and having a good battle – that’s what Formula One is all about. Nico has been quick all weekend and I’ve been chasing and chasing – but what’s important in my mind is that I’ve been improving with every session and I’ve found a good balance. Tomorrow is where the points are awarded and anything can happen at Interlagos as we’ve seen in the past. I’m looking forward to a good race and hopefully another strong result for the team.
That was a classic Formula One qualifying session where everything came down to the final lap of the final session. Nico’s pace is just incredible at the moment – like we saw on Saturday in Austin, too. Lewis has had the advantage recently in terms of race craft but there is nothing to choose between them on speed and it’s a great achievement for Nico to claim the pole position trophy this year. They were both absolutely flat out this afternoon – they can take nothing for granted in each session and we were pushed hard by Williams, too. Both guys have a chance for the win tomorrow and I hope we will see another great battle between them on this fantastic circuit.