Macau Grand Prix
Venue: Guia Circuit (China) | Date: 14 November 2013 | Weather: Sunny/intermittent rain
By Mattias Persson
Felix opened proceedings for the 2013 Macau Grand Prix by going a promising fourth fastest in Thursday free practice at the Asian venue, despite completing highly limited running and ending the session in the barriers.
Activities at the Guia street circuit got underway amid a light shower of rain, which was not considerable enough to necessitate the use of wet-weather tyres, but still signalled a challenging start to the 45-minute session.
Felix joined the rest of the field to complete an early installation lap, but then remained in the garage for the following ten minutes. He later rejoined for a short run of four laps, during which he produced a 2m14.662s effort to immediately shoot to the top of the timesheets. His benchmark would remain unbeaten until the final stages, when Alex Lynn (Prema Powerteam), 2012 winner António Félix da Costa (Carlin) and Stefano Coletti (Eurointernational) took advantage of some ever-improving conditions to leap ahead.
As it was, Felix ended up fourth - just 0.167s adrift of pace-setter Lynn - despite missing out on the final six minutes of the session after clattering the barriers at San Francisco Bend and having to abandon his Mücke Motorsport machine at the scene. The crash was relatively trivial, although the car did sustain considerable damage to the front left suspension. On the lap previous to the accident, he had gone purple (outright fastest) through the twisting middle sector.
Felix accumulated less mileage than any other driver in the top 20, completing a total of just eight laps compared to Lynn's and Félix da Costa's 18, and Coletti's 16.
Among others to hit early trouble were Carlin duo Carlos Sainz Jr. and Jordan King, who both crashed in similar fasion at Fishermen's, and Coletti (who made contact with the wall shortly before the chequered flag).
Next up today is the first of the weekend's two qualifying sessions, which are used to set up the grid for Saturday's Qualification Race. To learn more about the unique event structure of the Macau Grand Prix, please click here.
Qualifying 1 takes place at 14.40 local time this afternoon.
QUOTE | FELIX
"Quite a good start to the weekend, despite the crash towards the end of the session. I braked a little too late into Lisboa, ran wide on the exit, picked up a lot of dirt on the tyres and simply understeered into the wall at San Francisco. It was a very small mistake, but Macau is Macau and you just don't get away with anything! Still, the pace is definitely there, and I think we have a good baseline set-up. I'm looking forward to qualifying, and I think we have every reason to be optimistic - but we obviously need to work hard to ensure we move in the right direction as track conditions evolve."
Results (top five)
View full results
|António Félix da Costa
||GR Asia with Mücke-Mercedes
||ThreeBond with T-Sport-Nissan