Exclusive interview with Conway

British F3 champion Mike Conway rounded off his season in perfect style with victory in a thrilling Macau Grand Prix today

Exclusive interview with Conway

Having been gifted the lead when the three leading cars of Marko Asmer, Kamui Kobayashi and Paul di Resta all went up the escape road at Lisboa, Conway did not look back as he controlled the race from the front.

Despite a brief brush with the wall, which left his right front tyre covered in yellow paint, Conway stayed steady to win the biggest race of his career. Autosport.com caught up with him afterwards.

Q: How confident were you before the start that you could win it?

Mike Conway: "Yeah, I was confident. I knew that we had the pace in the race, but I needed a good start. That was going to be the key to the whole race. I did bog a little bit, but I released the clutch again and I got an awesome launch off the line.

"After that, I got myself in a good position, and luckily I put myself in the right place at the right time. And it just worked out for me. That is what Macau is about.

"In yesterday's race we saw Kodai Tsukakoshi go from tenth on the grid to third by the first corner, so anything can happen. But we had the pace to be at the front."

Q: What was going through your head when you saw the three leading cars all go down the escape road on the opening lap?

Conway: "It was fantastic for me, although obviously unlucky for them. I made a very good start and all the way down the straight, I positioned myself well and got to the inside of the track.

"Paul (di Resta) touched (Kamui) Kobayashi and they just went straight on. I managed to slip down the inside and then just pushed as hard as I could on the opening lap. I managed it on that occasion and after the Safety Car. After that I just kept my head down."

Q: Did you allow yourself a bit of a smile at the first corner, though?

Conway: "Yeah, I just looked at them briefly and could not believe it. But that was it; I focused on the corner and did not think about it any more. I just got my head down and put some good lap times in. I am really happy with this result."

Q: You seemed to push harder on the opening lap than a lot of the other drivers. Was that a deliberate tactic?

Conway: "I got sideways a couple of times, because you need to push on that first lap. If you come out of the last two corners with someone right on your tail then you are in trouble. He will tow right by you before you are near Lisboa.

"So I knew that from the last few races here - Loic Duval last year and Kamui Kobayashi yesterday did the same. They got that big lead. It was a nice cushion and they could just build on it. That is what I did. I achieved it well and did the best I could."

Q: The television pictures showed yellow paint on your right front wheel from a collision with the wall. What happened, and did it damage the car?

Conway: "I did touch the wall, but it wasn't too bad. Luckily, it didn't do too much damage, but it was a bit of a heart-stopping moment when it happened. It did bend the track rod slightly, which slowed us down a little in a straight-line but not much. I didn't make any more mistakes after that.

"Then, after that, I kept as much distance as I could. I tried to be consistent and kept pulling away from (Kohei) Hirate a little bit on each lap, which was really good.

"At the end Richard (Antinucci) was catching me bit by bit, he was pushing hard, but I backed off a little bit towards the end because a mistake around here can really cost you. I am very happy with the result."

Q: Did you expect to win before you came here?

Conway: "Last year, when we came here, we had a really good showing for a first time here, and it was possible for us to get a podium last year, but we got a puncture and things just didn't work out. These things happen at Macau, and you can never predict anything like that.

"This time we knew we had the pace from the first session, we knew we were quick. I made a little mistake in qualifying, and we didn't get to run new tyres so that is why I qualified P11 for the first race.

"I made some good positions in that one, and in the second one I just knew I had to win. There was no other position I wanted, and that is what I did. I just got the best start I could, got myself in a good position and got into first place as I went through Lisboa.

"I am really happy with this result and really happy with my team. They are only a young team, going for just two years now, but I won the British [F3] championship with them and now we have won Macau. It is all thanks to them."

Q: This year's Macau was billed as one of the strongest for many years. Does that make this success even sweeter?

Conway: "It does. Coming here, I knew it was going to be tough, because we had all the champions - Asian, European and Japanese. All the good guys are here, and then people like Richard Antinucci and Fabio Carbone who have done it a good few times and are very strong around here.

"So I knew it was going to be hard from the start of the weekend, but we had the pace from the first session, and I knew that if we just kept things together it would be good."

Q: Many Macau Grand Prix winners have gone on to great success in Formula One. What do you feel about that?

Conway: "There are some great names that have won the race in the past, and now I am one of those great names. I want to keep winning as many races as I can in my career, and we are going in the right direction. I think F1 is not too far away, hopefully."

Q: And next season? Is the plan to race in GP2?

Conway: "Hopefully. We have a couple of tests coming up at Valencia, and we have got to decide then what is going to happen. (Managers) Mark (Blundell), Martin (Brundle) and myself will talk about it over the next few weeks and sort things out."

Conway triumphs in Macau GP
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