Felix sent out a message of intent by topping Friday’s free practice session for the 2014 Macau Grand Prix, but was forced to watch the closing stages of running from the sidelines after crashing at Maternity just minutes before the end.
Having spent the majority of the session in race simulation mode, Felix joined a host of fellow drivers in a partial shift towards qualifying preparations in the final ten minutes.
Eager to evaluate the increased grip levels that will be offered by new tyres in this afternoon’s second qualifying session, Felix headed out on two new Yokohamas for a late “acquaintance run”, and immediately shot to the top of the timesheets on his first flying lap – setting the quickest time of the weekend so far in the process.
On his next tour, Felix had just set another new best in the first sector when he lost control of his Mücke Motorsport Dallara at the tricky Maternity complex at the top of the hill, crashing into the barriers and bringing his session to a premature end.
The car sustained only minor suspension damage, although the incident did bring out the red flags.
Despite sitting out the final nine minutes of running, Felix remained on top throughout, his 2m11.743s lap putting him a comfortable 0.292s ahead of second-placed Jordan King (Carlin).
The all-deciding second qualifying session – in which the grid for Saturday’s Qualification Race will take shape – is scheduled to start at 14.05 local time this afternoon.
“A good session, although crashing at the end obviously wasn’t part of the plan. We made a couple of changes to the car overnight, and they seem to have paid off. The balance felt better and I was much more comfortable in the quick corners.
“We fitted two new tyres at the end, and the pace was strong. I only got one flying lap in before I crashed, however, but at least I got a feel for the grip levels heading into qualifying this afternoon. I went a little too fast into the left-hander before Maternity and just lost it, but luckily there wasn’t a lot of damage. I misjudged the difference in grip between the right- and the left-hand side of the car, and that caught me out a bit.
“It’s always good to see your name at the top of the table, and the time I did in this session was quicker than the fastest lap in yesterday’s qualifying session. It’s quite apparent that today will be the day that counts in terms of qualifying times, and I hope to be in the running for pole position.”