Jake Hughes took provisional pole for the Macau Grand Prix in the opening day of FIA Formula 3 action at the Guia Circuit as Dan Ticktum and Callum Ilott both made their returns to the category.

In the first run-out for the new, faster F3 cars that raced in this year's FIA championship at Macau, Hughes was able to take top spot in Q1 for HWA Racelab with a fastest lap time of 2m06.793s.

Hughes got his lap in just before a string of red flags that resulted in the session being brought to an early end, giving him P1 by just half a tenth of a second from David Beckmann, who took P2 for Trident ahead of Red Bull junior Juri Vips.

FIA F3 runner-up Marcus Armstrong ended the day fourth-fastest for Prema Racing, with teammate and F3 champion Robert Shwartzman languishing down in ninth place after a series of rapid improvements shuffled the Russian down the order.

America's Logan Sargeant finished fifth for Carlin ahead of teammate and two-time Macau winner Dan Ticktum, who enjoyed his maiden official run-out in the FIA F3 car following testing in Valencia, having started the year in Super Formula prior to being dropped from Red Bull's junior programme.

Ferrari youngster Callum Ilott finished seventh in his maiden outing in the new car after racing in F2 through 2019, while Formula Regional European champion Frederik Vesti took eighth for Prema.

Drivers will have an opportunity to improve their times in Q2 on Friday at Macau that will set the grid for Saturday's qualifying race, followed by the grand prix on Sunday.