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DA COSTA WINS MACAU GRAND PRIX

António Félix da Costa produced a brilliant performance to take his second victory in the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix on Sunday.

 

The Carlin driver initially lost the lead from pole position to teammate Sérgio Sette Câmara, but capitalised at a Safety Car restart on lap seven to retake the top spot and then hold on for victory.

 

Câmara had had a storming first lap – picking up a good slipstream to slingshot past Callum Ilott and da Costa on the run through Mandarin and then opening up a 1.2 seconds advantage.

 

But his lead was reduced to nothing when a Safety Car was called out on lap five to recover Nikita Mazepin’s crashed car at Faraway. At the restart on lap seven, da Costa managed to get past and then set about pulling clear over the next few laps before a second Safety Car on lap 10 to retrieve Nick Cassidy’s crashed car.

 

The race restarted on lap 13 and da Costa managed to build up enough of a gap to Câmara to just escape a challenge on the run down to Lisboa. He was 1.1 seconds clear at the end of the lap, as Câmara then lost a place to Felix Rosenqvist who had got a slipstream and dived past into Lisboa.

 

Rosenqvist tried to close down the gap to da Costa but there were not enough laps left for him to mount a proper challenge and he came home 1.603 seconds adrift.

 

Speaking about how it compared to his first Macau win in 2012, da Costa said: “Maybe it feels better I think. I was not supposed to come, I am not meant to be here, I am not meant to race an F3 car – so none of this makes sense! I know I have said all week that to come away with a top five would be great and it would have been. But today, I had to do it. I am so happy that I did it, and I have to thank my team – because they gave me the car to do it. I am just a happy boy.”

 

Câmara came home in third place, ahead of Kenta Yamashita, Ilott and Jake Hughes. Lando Norris charged from 26th on the grid to finish 11th.

 

Macao’s Chang Wing Chung finished a creditable 12th, an encouraging performance given a limited racing season due to his studies. The 20-year-old, who was making his third appearance on the Guia Circuit, increased his pace throughout the Grand Prix week.

2016-11-20