Rising star survives qualifying chaos and gives himself chance to emulate Senna and Schumacher Lewis Hamilton is all set to follow in the famous footsteps of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna after stamping his class on the qualification race and gaining pole position for today's Macau Grand Prix Formula 3 race. Those legends of Formula 1 racing cut their teeth on the Guia circuit, winning the showpiece event in 1983 (Senna) and 1990 (Schumacher) before going on to conquer the world. Hamilton wants to take the same route to success and yesterday took the first step towards emulating those illustrious names. 'Hopefully I will be able to defend my position and stay out of trouble. It is important for me to win here in Macau,' said Briton Hamilton, who is in front of former world champion Keke Rosberg's son, Nico, and Alexandre Premat, who is third on the race grid. The 19-year-old Hamilton, who was behind Poland's Robert Kubica in this year's revamped version of the race, grabbed the lead on the opening lap. He remained unchallenged throughout the 10-lap encounter, four of which were behind the safety car that came on after a spectacular crash seconds after the start involving four cars. Among the victims were Hong Kong's Marchy Lee and Macanese Rodolfo Avila. Hamilton got well away and instantly tucked into the slipstream of pole position man and Manor Motorsport teammate Kubica. Behind them it was all chaos as cars shunted and knocked into each other. The series of incidents was triggered by American Richard Antinucci, who failed to get away quickly from his third place on the grid, causing Nelson Piquet Jnr to clout him from behind. That set off a chain reaction. Hamilton and Kubica were unaware of what was occurring behind them as they jostled for the lead going down the first straight. But approaching Mandarin Bend, Hamilton managed to take the outside line and overtake Kubica with a breathtaking move. 'It was very scary,' Hamilton said, describing his decisive move. 'Robert was covering the inside as I got the tow. I pulled up to the left side and was passing him but not fast enough to get past him and we could not go through side by side. So I hoped to make him scared and lift and he did that.' Kubica's hopes of making an instant response were dashed when the safety car was called out following the crashes on the grid. Antinucci, who was shunted, managed to continue for eight laps before retiring. Piquet could only do one lap. Further behind was a jumble of broken cars. Eric Salignon had slammed into the back of the stalled Kazuki Nakajima before spinning into the barrier. Also getting into the act were the SAR's Lee, Tung Ho-pin and Avila. Fortunately the new format does not prevent any of them racing for honours today although starting from the back of the grid, their chances are almost beyond slim. Luckily for race organisers, the track was clear on one side, allowing the race to go on with the safety car while frantic efforts were being made by an army of officials to clean up the debris and remove the damaged cars. This operation took four laps and helped Hamilton because cars could not overtake while the safety car was on the track. His lead was assured, although in the final analysis, it was clear that he hardly needed any help from the stewards. 'It was the correct procedure to put the safety car out. The accidents occurred on a wide part of the circuit which was clearly visible to all the drivers and there was plenty of space to pass,' said Barry Bland, F3 race coordinator. 'We were also live on television and the race was being broadcast, but there was no real reason to stop and restart it. And I don't think such a move would have changed the result,' added Bland. With Hamilton looking unstoppable at the front, Rosberg was happy to settle for second place that will ensure him a front-row start position for today's 15-lap race. On the second row are Premat and Kubica followed by Jamie Green and Fabio Carbone. 'I had no plan to attack Hamilton. I just defended my position and chilled out for the rest of the race,' said Rosberg, explaining his decision to hang on to second spot. 'I just concentrated on not making any mistakes.' The rest of the field will have to do more than just avoid mistakes if they are to knock favourite Hamilton off his perch today.