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DNF after perfect start in qualifying race

Published on 15 November 2014 by Stefan Meens

After a terrific start, in which he climbed from fifth on the grid to second in the first lap, Max Verstappen failed to finish the qualifying race of the Macau Grand Prix on Saturday. The Dutchman was introduced to the ruthlessness of the Chinese street course after touching the barriers in the fourth lap, forcing the Van Amersfoort Racing driver to retire in the pits. The DNF means the youngster will start Sunday's Macau Grand Prix from 24th on the grid.

Despite being the fastest rookie in qualifying with the third quickest time, the Red Bull Junior was forced to start Saturday's race in fifth after a two-place grid penalty. That does not stop the 17-year-old from having a blistering start propelling him from fifth to P2 in the run down the main straight, overtaking Esteban Ocon, Tom Blomqvist and Felix Rosenqvist. Behind the top five, Carlin duo Antonio Giovinazzi and Sean Galeal collide after the Lisboa corner and are forced to visit the pits.

Meanwhile, Lucas Auer leads the race after the first lap, having started from second position. The Austrian is able to pull a small gap to Max, who is trying hard to keep F3 veteran Rosenqvist of his back. The Swede out-brakes himself into Lisboa and the lock up takes away the pressure put on Max. Nevertheless, Auer is pulling away.
“I had a great start but after that I struggled in the second sector. We'd probably ran with tyre pressures a bit too low”, explains Max to

Going into the fourth lap, the order of the front runners remains unchanged, but not for long. As Max approaches the Solitude Esses, the rear of the car locks up and the Dallara F314 is unable to make the corner. A bend left front suspension and a busted rear right tyre are the result. Max is able to nurture the car to the pits, but his race ends there.

“After a couple of laps, I started to find my rhythm but as I braked into the fast right hander up the hill, I locked the rear of the car which meant I missed the corner's apex. My rear wheel hit a tyre barrier which cause the tyre to be knocked off the rim. It wasn’t really a hard hit but my front left wheel touching the barriers finished me off”, explains an disappointed, but honest Max.

Max' shunt, and a crash of Sean MacLeod in the same lap, trigger a safety car. Auer's lead is nullified and Rosenqvist takes advantage of the situation. The Swede who started from pole position, grabs the lead a the restart and takes the chequered flag and pole for Sunday's race.

The disappointing result means Max will start his last Formula 3 race in P24. The odds for a Verstappen win in the 15-lap long Macau Grand Prix are slim but in racing anything can happen. “I'm hoping for a couple of safety cars to make some proper progress. We'll see what happens, I'm giving it my all and wont give up”, concludes Max.

Via Twitter and Facebook we will keep you updated throughout the weekend, followed by a full report on at the end of the day’s action. 

The full schedule for the Macau Grand Prix can be found here.
Furthermore, you can follow Max via the live timing , live audio and an (unofficial) livestream, also available in English.

Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – Macau – Day 3, Saturday 15 November:
Results qualifying race