Daniel Ticktum wants to repay the faith that Red Bull have had in him after getting the biggest victory of his career in the Macau Grand Prix last weekend.
The British driver became a member of the Red Bull Junior Team ahead of the 2017 season, and took a race victory in the ultra-competitive Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 championship before coming to Macau and winning the main race.
After being forced to sit out the majority of 2016 thanks to a race ban for dangerous driving, Ticktum was a surprise addition to the Red Bull programme in 2017, and the eighteen year old has thanked Helmut Marko for the opportunity, something he doubts any other team would have given him.
“I can’t thank particularly Helmut Marko enough for being able to see that spark in me,” said Ticktum to Autosport.
“I have to say this at this point – but I doubt other teams would have taken the risk in signing me. And I am going to make it pay off for Helmut.”
Ticktum believes the race win in Macau, which came thanks to the last lap, last corner crashes for both Sergio Sette Câmara and Ferdinand Habsburg, was the biggest of his career so far, and he believes it can propel him to the next level and open up opportunities higher up the motor sport ladder.
“It’s the biggest win in my life by quite a long way,” insisted Ticktum. “I’ve had some incredible moments in karting when I was younger.
“I remember this sense of happiness and elation, but I haven’t had it for a long time to be honest. It’s really nice to have this feeling again.
“This is the take off point. It is going to be an incredible journey I’m sure. This is everything I ever wanted, so I put my heart and soul into it to get to this point.
“I overtook when I needed to. I was patient when I needed to be. So I think I can safely say from my point of view it was a mature drive, which is something that people haven’t seen before in me.
“But I have proven that I can handle a lot of situations.”
Ticktum knows he still has things to learn behind the wheel of a racing car, but he hopes the win in Macau will ensure a second year with the backing of Red Bull, although he knows should that opportunity arise, he will need to put together a strong season and show that he has learned from his mistakes of 2017.
“I think if you are a second year driver in the Red Bull programme, then Helmut has established that you are bloody fast – unless something else has gone wrong with the team and he cannot quite gauge what the driver is doing,” said Ticktum.
“I think he knows I’m very, very fast, I’m quite confident he does. Now it’s about showing I can put a package together, and staying calm and mature with whatever is thrown at me.
“There are a few things I’m not absolutely confident of, but what I am is I have more balls than anyone.”