Macao (China), Nov 16 : Estonia’s Juri Vips took pole position for Sunday’s 2019 Macao Grand Prix (GP) after finishing first in Saturday’s 10-lap qualifying race at the Guia Circuit.
Starting from pole, the Hitech driver kept ahead of Prema’s Robert Shwartzman in the opening stages of the race and was never truly threatened as he took a lights-to-flag win, reports Xinhua news agency.
“I didn’t expect pole position to be such a good thing, but today I got a mega start, and I think Robert didn’t get the best one, so I was able to lead into the first braking zone,” Vips said.
“I think if people around me get good starts tomorrow it will be harder.”
Shwartzman also held his second place on the grid to the end, though the Russian rued his inability to take advantage of the long straights on the Guia Circuit and pass Vips for the lead.
“My start wasn’t as good as Juri’s, who was quicker and built up a gap,” Shwartzman said. “Towards the end I started to catch him a bit, but it wasn’t enough. Pace-wise, we’re really close to each other, so tomorrow is going to be interesting.”
Behind Shwartzman, Denmark’s Christian Lundgaard overtook Callum Ilott to finish an impressive third in his first race at Macao, and expressed confidence in his chances of overall victory on Sunday.
First held in 1954, the Macao Grand Prix has grown to become one of the world’s most prestigious motor racing events, and is widely seen as a stepping stone for young drivers on their way to higher categories of motorsport such as Formula 1.
Previous Macao winners include multiple F1 world champions Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, with other F1 title winners such as Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen and Jenson Button also having raced at the Guia Circuit.