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Daniel Juncadella has admitted that he did not expect to claim victory in the 58th Macau Grand Prix on Sunday, with the Spaniard starting the race from sixth on the grid. However, a series of impressive overtaking moves after a mid-race Safety Car saw the Prema driver ultimately climb to the top of the order, the perfect reward for his efforts.
"I can’t believe it," Juncadella explained after stepping out of the car. "I knew I needed something special to win from sixth, but I really didn’t think that I could do it today. I was thinking more about the podium, as I think the key was that I came out to have fun.
"I started well and I avoided the first lap problems to move up to third. When the race restarted after the Safety Car, Nasr did not see me when I tried to overtake him and Bottas, so I passed them both. I pushed hard, but Wittmann was also very strong."
Juncadella says the second Safety Car period was a crucial part of the race, with the phase presenting him with the sought-after opportunity to move into the lead.
"When I saw the second Safety Car I thought that it was my chance to win," he added. "I tried to cool the engine as much as possible on the last lap to keep it ready for the restart, I gave it everything. I braked late all race and I did the best drive of my life.
"I braked so late that I was only one millimeter from touching the wall in places. My legs were shaking when I saw Nasr coming, so I just concentrated on my strengths, hence making the difference. When I saw the last Safety Car come out I could not believe that I had won, and while I was behind the Safety Car I have not cried so much in my life.
"That final lap was very exciting. I just thank Mercedes, my whole team and all who had previously believed that today's victory was a possible outcome."
Macau Grand Prix
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