wins qualification race for Macau Grand Prix
Hamilton stamped his authority on the Macau Grand Prix field
during a Safety Car interrupted qualification race on Saturday
after grabbing the lead on the opening lap and remaining unchallenged
throughout the 10-lap encounter. The Briton eventually finished
2.2 seconds ahead of Nico Rosberg, with Alexandre Premat third.
got away well from his second place on the grid and instantly
tucked into the slipstream of pole position man and Manor
Motorsport team-mate Robert Kubica. He managed to draft past
on the outside as the pair approached Mandarin Bend and, as
Kubica lifted, Hamilton swept into the lead, which he held
onto through Lisboa Bend.
"It was very scary," said Hamilton of the decisive
move. "Robert was covering the inside as I got the tow.
I pulled up to the left side and was passing him but not enough
to get past him and we could not go through side-by-side.
So I hoped to make him scared and lift, and he did that -
although I went through sideways."
hopes of making an instant response were dashed when the Safety
Car was called out following a series of incidents on the
grid. Richard Antinucci had got away slowly from third place
on the grid and was clouted from behind by Nelson Piquet Jr.,
while further back there was a much bigger accident as Eric
Salignon slammed into the back of the stalled Kazuki Nakajimi
before spearing off into the barrier. Also involved in the
incident were Marchy Lee, Ho Pin Tung and Rodolfo Avila.
Safety Car remained out until the start of lap five, as Salignon
needed assistance to get out of the car, but as soon as the
race restarted Hamilton made a brilliant getaway to pull clear
of the field. Behind him, Kubica came under instant pressure
from Rosberg and lost second place on the run into Mandarin.
Hamilton looking unstoppable at the front, Rosberg was happy
to settle for the second slot that will ensure him a front-row
start position for Sunday's 15-lap race, while behind him
Premat took third after diving past Kubica into Lisboa on
duly finished fourth, with fifth-placed finisher Jamie Green's
bid to wrest that spot from the Polish driver in the closing
stages failing to come off. Behind Green, last year's pole
position man Fabio Carbone finished sixth, ahead of Loic Duval,
Lucas di Grassi, James Rossiter and Danny Watts.