Luke secures qualification race win to grab Macau GP pole

Luke Browning will start the 70th edition of the Macau Grand Prix from pole position after a fine win in the qualification race continued his dream debut at the challenging street circuit.

Having topped the times in qualifying – and having been in the top two in every session on track – the youngster headed into the race as one of the hot favourites for victory, but aware that being at the front of the pack also left him at risk of being gobbled up the pack behind at the start.

Luke got away well from pole to retain the lead into turn one before coming under pressure from Gabriele Mini into Mandarin – running side-by-side down to Lisboa where the young Briton held on to his advantage.

An astonishing run across the top of the circuit then allowed Luke to open up a lead of more than two seconds, a crucial move given that DRS was activated at the end of the opening lap.

A clash between Dan Ticktum and Ugo Ugochukwu at Lisboa starting lap two resulted in the race going under cation, with the virtual safety car deployed to neutralise the field before the actual safety car itself was called out as cars were recovered – robbing Luke of the lead he had been able to build.

The action resumed with Luke immediately under pressure from Mini and Alex Dunne on the run to Lisboa, not helped by a sideways moment coming out of the final corner which cost him momentum going into the high-speed first sector of the lap.

Despite being three wide at one point on the run down to the right-hander, Luke could hold on to his lead and then scampered away to build a lead of 1.5s over Dunne – who had managed to clear Mini for second.

The Irishman came back at Luke on the following lap to slightly reduce the lead at the front, but Luke responded with the fastest lap of the race enabling him to stay out of reach at the front.

The Williams Academy driver then went even quicker a lap later to further edge clear and was able to control proceedings from the front as his rival proved to be unable to match his pace.

Unchallenged ahead of a stellar field of drivers, Luke emerged from the race with a fine debut win to maintain his stunning Macau debut weekend and ensure that he will lead the grid away for the Macau Grand Prix itself on Sunday.