Robert Shwartzman takes second-place finish in Macau qualification race for SJM Prema Theodore Racing
Robert Shwartzman and SJM Prema Theodore Racing will start the 66th Macau Grand Prix from the second place on the grid for Sunday’s main event. The 20-year-old Russian delivered an outstanding performance in the qualification race held on Saturday morning at the Guia circuit.
Starting from the front row, Shwartzman kept his position without taking any risks in the initial stages and continued to do so after an early re-start, delivering highly competitive lap-times. In the final stages, he gradually reduced the gap towards the front-runner before eventually settling for second, an extremely positive position ahead of tomorrow’s Grand Prix.
As previous years at the Guia track, the race featured early drama which both remaining SJM Prema Theodore Racing cars fell victim to. Marcus Armstrong and Frederik Vesti found the track blocked by a stuck car at the first passing through Lisboa corner, and by the time they managed to get by and re-join behind the safety car, they were already out of the top-20. While having to fight all the way back through the field, they made good improvement and eventually ended up in 17th and 18th respectively.
It is set to be a thrilling 66th edition of the Macau Grand Prix tomorrow afternoon at 15:30 local time, GMT +8. A live stream of the main event can be found on the Theodore Racing website.
#2 – Marcus Armstrong
“Luck was not on our side today. Right after the start, several cars made contact at Lisboa, and one of them ended up blocking the track right in front of me. When I managed to get going again, most of the pack was gone. After the restart, we pushed as much as we could and managed to gain positions. Obviously, today’s result is disappointing, but this is Macau and anything can happen so we are not giving up and we look forward to the Grand Prix.”
#3 – Frederik Vesti
“I got a decent start and I saw that there was nobody on the outside so I went there, braked late and made the corner fine. Unfortunately, the car in front of me got touched and was launched into the wall, blocking my line. I had cars in front and behind so I couldn’t go anywhere, and I just had to wait. The pace was good, definitely better than the drivers I had in front, and I think we could have had a really good result. I’m disappointed with what happened in T3, but I’m happy about the pace and my confidence in driving.”
#5 – Robert Shwartzman
“I am happy with today’s result. I had a decent start, but not as good as Vips, so I lost a bit of pace there. Also, I had a car behind me at Lisboa. I tried to play it safe because there was no point in risking it all in the first lap, so I settled for second place. After the re-start, I wasn’t really far but I lost a bit of time in turn 3 at Lisboa because there was a little bit of dust and I took it really easy. Towards the end, I started to catch up a bit, but I was not getting into the DRS zone. I think we were really close in terms of pace and tomorrow’s race should be an interesting one. We had good battles with Juri this season and I think there can be another good one tomorrow. For sure I will do my best to get past and take the win.”
Mr. Teddy Yip Jr. of Theodore Racing
“As usual Macau provided us with another exhilarating race. Marcus and Frederik were very unlucky to get caught behind the crash on the opening lap but did well to recover. Robert drove brilliantly and has now given us a good shot at taking the title. Macau is very unpredictable so we hope everyone has a clean race tomorrow and hopefully we will come away with a podium!”