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F3 European

First and second for Vips in Macau

Jüri Vips

#6 Jüri Vips (EST – Hitech Grand Prix Mecachrome Dallara)
Qualifying: 1st
Qualifying Race Grid: 1st – Result: 1st
Macau Grand Prix Grid: 1st – Result: 2nd

#20 Liam Lawson (NZL – MP Motorsport Mecachrome Dallara)
Qualifying: 15th
Qualifying Race Grid: 15th – Result: 20th
Macau Grand Prix Grid: 20th – Result: 7th

#8 Yuki Tsunoda (JAP – Hitech Grand Prix Mecachrome Dallara)
Qualifying: 21st
Qualifying Race Grid: 24th (pen) – Result: 16th
Macau Grand Prix Grid: 16th – Result: 11th

Another dramatic Macau Grand Prix produced a Qualifying Race win and Grand Prix second for Jüri Vips. Fellow Red Bull Juniors and Macau first timers Liam Lawson and Yuki Tsunoda both had excellent drives in the Grand Prix having been caught up in a first lap incident in the Qualifying Race.

Though Vips was disappointed not to turn his domination of Practice and the Qualifying Race into Grand Prix victory, Lawson was justifiably pleased to have come from P20 on the grid in the final to 7th while Tsunoda came from P16 to 11th.

Vips from pole

A lights to flag win from pole in the Qualifying Race after a crushing performance in timed Qualifying saw the 19-year-old Estonian line up in pole position again for the 15 lap Grand Prix.

The Hitech Grand Prix driver shot off from the start and put in a perfect first lap to lead by almost two seconds. Unfortunately, as so often happens at Macau, an incident then instigated a Safety Car period and at the restart Vips was relegated to second.

He immediately set about fighting back but technology did not help. "The DRS was not working when it should so I had to go for it without and I locked up trying to get ahead. I flat spotted the tyres so that effected the car in the closing laps when the DRS did start working."

"I had big flat spots, don't know how I managed to keep Richard (Verschoor) under pressure in the mid section because the car balance was gone but I kept pushing as hard as I could. When the DRS did start working I couldn't take full advantage of it."

"It's a real shame for the team because they gave me such a great car all week," he concluded.

Lawson passes 7 on lap 1

The first lap wrecked the 17-year-old New Zealander's Qualifying Race when drivers ahead of him collided at the first tight right hander, Lisboa, leaving him trapped and badly delayed.

That left him 20th on the grid for the Grand Prix but the MP Motorsport driver blitzed his way past 7 cars on the first lap and continued his inspired drive through the field to finally finish 7th.

"What an incredible event," he enthused. "I learnt so much in the race today. For the first time since I got here I gave it everything, I was up against the wall at every turn, almost clipping the wall at every turn and it is so intense round here I was totally spent at the end, it's that kind of place, supper tough, incredible."

"Coming into the weekend everyone was telling me not to crash, to keep it in one piece and I drove it like that so when we got to Qualifying it was the first time that I really went for it and the lap was not good enough. I had another couple of laps but got blocked so only qualified 15th."

"I knew I was quicker than that so I thought I could do something from there. Then got stuck behind the other cars in the first corner crash. I was the last one to get clear so getting through to 20th wasn't bad."

"For the start today I couldn't see the lights and didn't realise they were coming on, as the other cars moved I did. So I was behind on the run down to the first corner. But that worked out as they all braked and queued up, I got a clear run through and jumped past a load on the straight to the next."

"From there I just kept going and it was a good finish. Good, very good but still frustrating and disappointing, thinking of what might have been with a better Qualifying. If I come back next year I'll be going for it from earlier on. That's what Richard (Verschoor) did and all credit to him for his win."

Tsunoda cannot be satisfied

The 19-year-old Japanese member of the Honda Formula Dream Project is always very self critical. Like Lawson he was stranded at the first corner in the Qualifying Race through no fault of his own. "I can't say I was happy with my first Macau overall. Finally in the Grand Prix the pace was not bad but I was hampered by having to use old tyres on the left side after I damaged a pair in practice."

"Practice did not go so well, a couple of incidents and a technical problem. One of the incidents involved another Red Bull car but I should have avoided that so I have to take responsibility."

"I had a very good car, good enough for a top five result so I cannot be happy," stated the Hitech Grand Prix driver who was penalised 3 grid places after Qualifying for reversing from too far down a slip road.

"Of course it was still a very good learning experience, it made me find some of my weak points and will help me to be stronger in the future. I really enjoyed the circuit and the whole event so I know that it was a very valuable learning experience for me."