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18-21 November 2004
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51st Macau Grand Prix

18 November 2004: Free Practice No. 1
Track: Macau Guia Circuit (6,120 km)
Fabio Carbone quickest in first practice

Brazilian Fabio Carbone saved his best until last during Thursday's opening free practice session for this weekend's Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix to set the fastest time. The Three Bond Racing driver, who was on pole position for last year's race, moved to the top of the timesheets in the closing seconds of the session - before beating his best time on his final lap.

"We have started okay," he said. "There were lots of small things on the car that we had to work on, but it is a good start. I think I learned a lot after last year and now let's just wait and see for qualifying this afternoon."

Carbone's closest challenger was American Richard Antinucci, who also set his best lap on his final tour to the chequered flag. The TOM's driver's best lap was 0.612 seconds behind Carbone.

Briton Lewis Hamilton managed to set the third best time, despite losing valuable track time after being forced into the pits with a broken wheel nut. The Manor Motorsport driver had been at the top of the timesheets, two seconds clear of the opposition, when he encountered the problem.

"It felt like I had a flat tyre and I just had to slow down," explained Hamilton. "I could not see what it was in the mirrors so I thought it best to come into the pits to see what it was - especially as I was sure I hadn't hit the wall. Despite that, the car feels sweet at the moment and I've got a good feeling about this weekend. This track is mega."

Poland's Robert Kubica was fourth quickest, despite a brush with the wall at Lisboa early in the session after he was forced to take avoiding action to stop himself from hitting Alvaro Parente. He also understeered into the wall at the hairpin later that lap after running wide on cement dust laid down after an earlier session had left oil on the track.

Nelson Piquet Jr., one of the pre-event favourites, had a troubled session as he ran wide at the hairpin early on and then suffered suspected steering problems to end up 23rd overall…Franck Perera had a spin…Danny Watts said he was 'surprised' to end up eighth overall after suffering a puncture early in the session and losing track time

Macau Weather
Pictures 2001


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