Red Bull protege Juri Vips on Macau pole as F1 juniors star

Red Bull-backed youngster Juri Vips set a new Formula 3 track record as he claimed pole position for the Macau Grand Prix qualifying race, with Formula 1 juniors filling the front two rows of the grid.

Vips was in contention for top honours throughout and cemented his place at the front for Saturday’s race with a time of 2:04.997.

The use of the new-for-2019 Formula 3 package around the Guia Circuit meant Vips’ time was five seconds faster than last season’s leading efforts.

Vips’ effort left him 0.379s clear of 2019 Formula 3 junior and Ferrari protégé Robert Shwartzman, who will join Vips on the front row of the grid.

Sauber Junior Team by Charouz driver Callum Ilott, who has been competing in Formula 2 this year, placed third, half a second down on Shwartzman.

Renault F1 protégé Christian Lundgaard was fourth for ART Grand Prix, with Richard Verschoor in fifth position, the pair emerging as the quickest rookies.

HWA Racelab’s Jake Hughes took sixth, ahead of Formula Regional European champion Frederik Vesti – competing in place of the unfit Jehan Daruvala at Prema – while Arjun Maini took eighth for Jenzer.

Marcus Armstrong, runner-up to Shwartzman in Formula 3, finished ninth overall, having been in contention for pole position before crashing out of the session through Police corner.

Logan Sargeant capped the top 10 for Carlin, in front of the returning Ferdinand Habsburg and Max Fewtrell.

Reigning two-time champion Dan Ticktum endured a troubled build-up to qualifying after he crashed into the stricken Trident-run car of David Beckmann in practice.

Carlin repaired Ticktum’s car in time for the Briton to re-join the action part-way through qualifying and he secured 13th place on the grid.

The result of Saturday’s 10-lap qualifying race will determine the grid for Sunday’s 15-lap grand prix.