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Hartley sensational in Macau Formula 3 race


Palmerston North teenager blisters the streets of Macau as he races through the field, setting a new lap record on the way.

Brendon Hartley drove sensationally to scythe his way from 20th to finish third in Sunday’s prestigious Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix in China.

The Palmerston North teenager set a new lap record on his final tour of the street circuit in the former Portuguese colony. Earlier in the day he had set the fastest-ever F3 lap at Macau.

Hartley avoided a series of crashes that required two periods of safety car interventions and drove his Red Bull Dallara-Mercedes to finish four seconds behind the race winner after 15 chaotic laps.

Hartley (19) set a string of fastest laps throughout the weekend, but the meeting had started badly for him.

On Thursday a seized gearbox sidelined him mat the start of the first practice session, and he played catch-up during the rest of practice and qualifying.

He started a disappointed 11th in Saturday’s 10-lap qualifying race to determine the Grand Prix grid.

Matters turned worse when he was nudged into the barrier at the first corner and had to limp to the pits for front left suspension repairs.

Despite slightly deranged suspension and mismatched tyres, he rejoined two laps down and set the fastest lap as he recovered to finish 20th.

During Sunday’s warm-up he lapped the 6.1km street circuit in two minutes 11.07 seconds, 1.7 seconds faster than Dutchman Carlo van Dam’s pole time for the Grand Prix.

Hartley’s lap was the fastest ever by a Formula 3 car in the 26 years that the best European F3 teams and drivers have raced at Macau.

Japanese Keisuke Kunimoto won the Grand Prix from third on the grid, with Edoardo Mortara second ahead of the charging Hartley,

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