Luke secures dominant Macau Grand Prix victory

Luke Browning completed a dream debut weekend in the biggest F3 race of the year with victory in the 70th running of the Macau Grand Prix.

The Williams Academy driver completed a stunning display on the challenging street circuit as he added victory in the main race to his success in the qualifying race – leading every racing lap having also scored pole in qualifying.

As in race one, Luke led through the opening turn but was under huge pressure going down to Lisboa, where he held off the challenge of Gabriele Mini going into the right-hander.

Behind, Hitech Pulse-Eight team-mate Alex Dunne clattered into the barriers, resulting in the virtual safety car being deployed as the Irish driver was recovered.

The race resumed just before the end of the opening lap with Luke holding a lead of a second over Mini behind, with the Italian driver using the tow through sector one to try and close in on the talented Briton.

However, Luke was able to blitz the remainder of the lap to double his advantage – crucially putting himself out of DRS range.

A virtual safety car was again called out as Dino Beganovic found the tyres at Lisboa whilst trying to dive ahead of Mini for second spot and the resumption of the race came at just the wrong time for Luke as it allowed Mini to take time out of him in the fourth sector of the lap to close in.

Mini again brought the gap down through sector one but the following three sectors saw Luke set the fastest times to once again put himself out of DRS range.

The cat-and-mouse battle at the front would continue, with Mini able to close in slightly through sector one only for Luke to then outpace his rival through the more technical sections across the top of the circuit.

It allowed the Briton to continually extend his advantage before a huge accident involving Paul Aron, which left his car in flames on the circuit, saw the race suspended with nine of the 15 laps completed.

With extensive barrier damage that required a large section of guardrail to be repaired, Luke and his rivals were forced to wait in the pits for the restart.

The field was eventually able to head back out behind the safety car for two laps before the race got back underway on lap twelve, with Luke under huge pressure from a charging Dennis Hauger – who passed Mini on the run to Mandarin and briefly nosed into the lead going into Lisboa.

Luke had the inside line however and was able to keep the lead and – as earlier in the race – then extended his advantage across the top part of the circuit to take his lead to over a second.

However, when Nikola Tsolov then found the barriers at Fishermans Bend and came to a halt on the circuit, the safety car was called back out with less than three laps to go.

Despite the best efforts of marshals to recover the car, the race would end under caution, with Luke leading the field across the line and securing the biggest victory of his racing career by far.

Luke’s win – a record-extending 15th by drivers from the UK – sees him join an impressive list of drivers to have taken victory in the event, which includes the likes of multiple F1 champions Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.