Sam took a superb third place in the Macau Grand Prix today, after an impressive drive on the legendary Guia Circuit.
Having had to settle for 7th place in Saturday’s qualification race, after suffering a clutch issue at the start, which severely compromised the performance of his car throughout the race, the Noble Group supported driver made a good start to the Grand Prix, pressuring Daniel Ricciardo into a mistake. The Australian driver hit the tire barrier at the Solitude Esses and found himself stranded in the middle of the track. A pile-up of cars ensued, bringing out the safety car.
In fifth place at the re-start, Sam tried to make a move on the Tom’s car of Marcus Ericsson but the Swede made full use of his Toyota Engine to defend the position, sending Sam slightly wide.
Having lost several valuable seconds to Ericsson as a result, Sam then put the hammer down and started reeling the Swede back in courtesy of some lightening fast laps.
On lap 12, Sam’s Mercedes-powered ART car was back in Ericsson’s gearbox and, this time, the Briton would not be denied as he got into the Swede’s slipstream down the main straight before making a brave pass on him around the outside of Lisboa.
The next target on track was Valtteri Bottas in third place, a few seconds down the road. Again, Sam was beginning to make up ground when, on the last lap, the Finn, perhaps beginning to feel the pressure from his ART teammate, suffered damage to his rear left wheel, enabling Sam to storm past and take a hard fought and well deserved podium finish.
Sam, the only non-VW driver to break the 2:11.00 barrier, finishes as the top Mercedes-powered driver, with a best lap of 2:10.995.
Sam : “Macau is my favourite race of the season and this is a great result for everyone that’s supported me in my efforts here. I want to thank, in particular, the Noble Group, who have been brilliant, ART and Mercedes Benz, for giving me a car worthy of a podium and my managers at CJ Motorsport”.