Red Bull junior Daniel Ticktum has praised the energy drink’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko for having faith in him, as he suggested rival teams wouldn’t have taken the risk Marko did.
Speaking after his victory in the Macau Grand Prix, Ticktum said that Red Bull's conviction in his talent following a ban from racing was something few would have had the bravery to do.
"I can't thank particularly Helmut Marko enough for being able to see that spark in me," Ticktum told Motorsport.com.
"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 was handed a two-year ban (the second of which was suspended) in 2015 for having deliberately crashed into a rival during a safety car period at an MSA Formula race at Silverstone.
He returned to competitive action last year in two F3 races, but his potential was enough for Red Bull to sign him up to its junior driver programme last winter.
And although he has endured some frustrations in Formula Renault this year, he says his triumph in Macau at the weekend will be a springboard in his career ahead of a likely step up to F3 full-time in 2018.
"It's the biggest win in my life by quite a long way," he said. "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 is really nice to have this feeling again.
"This is the take-off point. It is going to be an incredible journey, I am 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's success at Macau comes at the perfect time for the Briton, with the energy drinks company eager to find future talent after having no obvious replacement at Toro Rosso for Daniil Kvyat among its young drivers – and having opted for Brendon Hartley.
Asked about the scope to move up with Red Bull, Ticktum said: "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.
"I think he knows I am very, very fast, I am quite confident he does. I think now it is about showing I can put a package together, and staying calm and mature with whatever is thrown at me. "
And with a key moment of his victory in Macau having been when he pulled off a brilliant late-braking overtaking move on Lando Norris and Maximillian Gunther, Ticktum said: "There are a few things I am not absolutely confident of. But what I am confident of is that I have more balls than anyone…"