Antonio Giovinazzi led the way during an incident-filled opening practice session on Thursday for this weekend’s Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA F3 Intercontinental Cup.

The Italian, who drives for Carlin, headed the time sheets early on and consistently improved throughout the 45-minutes session – despite two interruptions caused by red flags – to finish ahead of Formula 3 European Champion Felix Rosenqvist.

The first session-stoppage crash was caused by SJM Theodore Racing by Prema’s Jake Dennis, who crashed in to the barriers on the right hand side at Solitude Esses after 20 minutes.

Later on, with just nine minutes remaining, Carlin’s Callum Ilott caused the second stoppage when he hit the barriers at the left just before Faraway.

Despite the interruptions, Giovinazzi was able to make improvements throughout – eventually setting the benchmark time of 2m13.829s.

Rosenqvist, who had briefly topped the times for Prema at one point before Giovinazzi responded, ended up 0.754 seconds behind.

Motopark’s Markus Pommer was third quickest, ahead of TOM’s driver Kenta Yamashita and Yuhi Sekiguchi for the B-Max Racing Team.

British driver Alexander Sims and Chinese Li Zhi Cong both hit the barriers at Lisboa during the sessions, but their cars were retrieved without the need for a red flag.

F3 returnee Daniel Juncadella, who has raced in DTM this year and won at Macau in 2011, had a frustrating time as he could only complete two laps after being confined to the pits for much of the session.

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