F3: Rookie Verschoor surprises and wins in Macau

Young Dutchman Richard Verschoor attained an outstanding victory at the 66th Macau Grand Prix, winning the most-wanted race of the weekend and becoming the new FIA F3 World Cup champion.

In an outstanding performance, Verschoor took the opportunity of a race restart after a safety car period to pass the pole-sitter Juri Vips, who had made a clean getaway from the line and was keeping the race at his pace until that moment.

Vips was also benefiting from the misfortune of the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Champion, Robert Shwartzman, who started poorly and was involved in the middle of the pack into Lisboa in the first run.

The front-row starter, Shwartzman, got a touch in his right front wing with Christian Lundgaard who came out from third in the grid and immediately tried to put pressure on Shwartzman.

Although the encounter was not that strong, it immediately caused a tire puncture and failure, ending the Russian’s race right at the Lisboa buffer zone on the opening lap.

Starting from fourth on the grid, Verschoor took advantage of the moment between Shwartzman and Lundgaard to gain two places by keeping an inside line from Mandarin bend and into Lisboa.

Vips was leading and Verschoor was following him as closely as he could, until Ferdinand Habsburg hit the barriers hard with his car through the Solitude Esses area, requiring the immediate deployment of the safety car.

At the restart, Verschoor saw a chance that he could not miss and launched an immediate and successful attack on the Estonian, under braking into the Lisboa bend with five laps (out of 15) to go.

Meanwhile, American driver Logan Sargeant also managed to pass Lundgaard to take third place overall.

From there on and until the checkered flag, Verschoor tried to manage Vips pressure since he was very close and running faster than him, although the time and distance were never close enough to allow Vips to attempt the overtake.

After the front trio came Lugdgaard, crossing the line in fourth, ahead of Alessio Lorandi who closed the top 5.

Callum Ilot, Liam Lawson, Marcus Armstrong, David Beckmann, and Frederick Vesti, completed the top 10.

At the end of the race and after the podium ceremony Verschoor said, “To be honest, I am not believing the feeling yet! It hasn’t sunk in that I have just won the Macau Grand Prix! It was a really busy race and I was under a lot of pressure. I had to concentrate so much towards the end, and I am still recovering a bit. Both the team and myself are maybe not as experienced yet or consistently at the same level as some of the other guys, so this is a huge result for the team, myself and everyone involved. I would like to thank everyone at MP Motorsport.” He further expressed his desire to return to Macau, a circuit that he said he had immediately fallen in love with.

At the same opportunity, Vips said, “I am feeling a little disappointed because I feel that I have had the perfect weekend – minus the safety car restart. I don’t really know what happened there. I knew I had something on my tires, which was maybe some debris. I felt, going into the last two corners, my tires were far from ready and Richard got close to me and passed me. I kept Richard under pressure during the middle sector, but in the last two corners, the balance difference was too big to get a good exit and take advantage of the DRS [Drag Reduction System that allows cars to go faster on overtake situations].”

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