Bird says podium makes up for '08

Sam Bird says his podium finish in the Macau Grand Prix goes some way to mending the heartbreak of last year when he was taken out of the race on the first lap

Bird says podium makes up for '08

Bird was a serious challenger for victory 12 months ago, but he was taken out in a collision with Roberto Streit before Mandarin bend within seconds of the race starting.

This time luck was slightly on his side, as he moved up to the final podium spot when ART team-mate Valtteri Bottas slowed on the final lap with a wheel problem, but he was nevertheless delighted with the outcome.

"I know I only came third, and I know the other two guys were a long way ahead, but for me this is fantastic," said Bird.

"I was heartbroken last year because I was taken out almost before the race had even started. I was in third place and Roberto Streit put me in the wall before the Mandarin corner. I felt last year I had the speed to challenge Edoardo [Mortara] possibly for victory. But it wasn't to be.

"So I came back this year - hoping to be on the podium and hoping to win. I didn't win, but after the difficult weekend I've had, my team ART and Mercedes have pulled through."

Bird recovered from a mistake early in the race to deliver a string of quick laps that hauled him past Marcus Ericsson for fourth on lap 12 - and then he moved up on the final lap when Bottas slowed.

"I was pushing like crazy through the race," he said. "I made a mistake behind Marcus early in the race and there was a huge gap, so at that point I needed to really get my head down and the team were screaming down the radio - Sam push! Sam push! Sam push!

"I gritted my teeth and went for it at every corner of every lap. The car was a pleasure to drive actually. When I overtook Marcus I was screaming down the radio. I was so fired up with adrenaline, it was fantastic. It was a really enjoyable race."

And Bird vowed to give his team-mate Bottas a cuddle as a consolation for missing out on the podium spot.

"It was a shame for Valtteri. He drove a brilliant race. He has been extremely quick all weekend, and I can only say that he must be extremely upset so I will give him a hug when I get back to the pits. What else can I say? Finishing on the podium is fantastic for me."

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