Felix the street cat: Rosenqvist finally puts his name in lights
Swede makes up for years of disappointment in his final appearance at the Guia circuit by winning the blue-riband Formula Three race
Felix Rosenqvist revelled in coming through a season of "tough s***" to win the Macau Grand Prix at the fifth attempt, saying "stupidity" was the key to mastering one of motor sport's most demanding circuits.
The Swede started from the front of the grid for the third year in a row and won at his final try, signing off from Formula Three with a set of the most prestigious trophies: the Zandvoort Masters, Pau and Macau.
"It's quite hard to keep the belief in yourself during a season like this when you sometimes struggle to keep in the top 10," said Rosenqvist, eighth in this season's F3 European Championship.
"I ve always been quick in the street circuits, and they've been my standouts. That was my last shot here in Macau [to redeem the season] and I think all is forgotten now.
"It makes up for all the disappointment this year. All the big ones have gone through something like that - to be strong you have to go through some tough s***, that's important for every athlete so I feel a lot stronger now.
"I've proven to myself and everyone else that I haven't got slower, I haven't unlearned anything, I've just had a tough year that everyone goes through from time to time so it's very good to prove that to everyone."
Rosenqvist said a simple disregard for self-preservation was the key.
"I think from the first time I drove a street circuit I was always good, it's a very different driving style to Hockenheim or something like that.
"Also I'm a little bit stupid, I've always been an adrenaline junkie, and that helps me around these hairy tracks!"
That hairiness was evident on a carnage-strewn first lap, through which Rosenqvist emerged unscathed.
He began on pole but was down to fourth from the start before a massive pile-up at San Francisco bend meant the race was suspended and the surviving cars started again from their original grid positions.
Esteban Ocon and Tom Blomqvist had tussled going into Lisboa corner, damaging Ocon's car and leading the French European champion to crash into the wall on the next corner.
Blomqvist, and several others, ploughed into him; Yu Kanamura's car spectacularly launched into the air and landed on top of the barrier, wheels spinning furiously near Ocon's head - no one was hurt but Ocon and Blomqvist, both contenders, were out.
At the restart, second-placed Lucas Auer took the lead as the safety car withdrew, but Rosenqvist instantly regained it going into Lisboa, and relentlessly stretched ahead until the finish line; Auer finished second, making it a one-two for the Mucke Motorsport team, and debutant Nick Cassidy was third.
"In 2012 I finished second, last year I only came 100m down the straight before I had to retire," added Rosenqvist. "This time finally everything worked out.
"Today when I woke up I thought, 'It has to be today, I have no other chance,' and it all just came together."
The 23-year-old will try for GP2 or Formula Renault - there hasn't been much interest from Formula One - and this could be the perfect sales pitch.
"Even if it's an important win it doesn't mean that you're going to F1 tomorrow.
"You need a lot of money in motorsport and I don't have it - I need some radical backing and hopefully this helps."