Felix kept his cool to claim victory in the Macau Grand Prix Qualification Race, leading home Lucas Auer in a Mücke Motorsport 1-2 after overtaking the Austrian under braking for Lisboa following a safety car restart.
Starting the race from pole position after topping yesterday’s qualifying session, Felix got away well off the line, only for the traditional slipstreaming effect to allow fellow front-row starter Auer and Max Verstappen to rocket by on the run to Lisboa.
With Verstappen then crashing out a few laps later, the battle up front turned into a pure intra-team dispute, with a mid-race safety car appearance adding further spice to the mix.
At the restart, Felix stayed on Auer’s tail through the R Bend sweep onto the main straight, and eventually worked his way past his team-mate with a bold overtaking move under braking for Lisboa. From there, Felix quickly opened up a crucial gap to the rest of the field thanks to a blistering run through the mountain section, and stayed in front to take the chequered flag ahead of Auer, Tom Blomqvist and Esteban Ocon.
Felix set the fastest lap of the race and was the only driver to dip below the 2m13s barrier.
The Qualification Race is used to determine the grid for Sunday’s all-important finale, which means that Felix will start tomorrow’s main race, the 2014 Suncity Group Macau Grand Prix, from pole position.
“A very important result. My target is to win the main race here tomorrow, and this was a step in the right direction – a hurdle which we have now overcome. I made a good start, but then the expected happened and I was overtaken on the run to the first corner. After that, I had to fight back.
“I got a good tow on Lucas following the restart and managed to outbrake him into Lisboa, and I knew that I had to build a gap in the mountain section to get him out of my slipstream on the next lap. I did my best to break free, and fortunately it was enough.
“We have found a set-up that works – even though I suffered from quite a lot of tyre locking today - and I feel really confident in the car. We have the pace required to win here, as the fastest lap proves, but Macau is always Macau and anything can happen tomorrow. I will go all out for victory, and nothing else will do for me this time.”