Raffaele Marciello said his victory in Sunday’s FIA GT World Cup was his “last gift” to Mercedes-AMG as he bows out of competition with the German manufacturer.
The Swiss-flagged driver delivered a sweep of the weekend on the streets of Macau, claiming pole on Friday prior to a lights-to-flag victory in Saturday’s Qualification Race and a commanding run in Sunday’s 16-lap feature race on the Guia Circuit.
It came in Marciello’s final outing with Mercedes-AMG, as he moves onto a Hypercar drive, widely believed to be with BMW in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Marciello had to fend off a strong early challenge from fellow Mercedes-AMG factory driver Maro Engel until the German had a shifting issue on the race’s only restart with seven laps to go.
“It’s amazing,” Marciello said. “We knew that the key was to have a good start and then we thought about the safety car restart because it’s complicated to overtake.
“I had a good start. Maro was quite quick there in the beginning. But then after the safety car he had an issue. Thanks to this I gained a few seconds.
“Then it was only a matter to control [the race]. It was a great race and I managed to finish my AMG life in a good way.”
When asked about the large gap when going back to green, Marciello admitted that he initially feared he jumped the restart, but then later found out about Engel’s problems, which held up the rest of the field.
Marciello took the checkered flag by 2.5 seconds over Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute’s Edoardo Mortara.
“Maro was always more-or-less around one second, so it was under control,” Marciello said. “But when I saw the big gap [on the restart], in my mind, I said, f*** maybe I did a mistake or went too early.
“I thought maybe I went back to green [early] but when then they told me he had an issue.”
Sunday’s race brought an end to Marciello’s seven-year run with Mercedes-AMG, which saw countless championships and key race victories.
“We won so many things,” he said. “We didn’t have many lows, actually. When I look back we won everything except Bathurst and Nürburgring, more or less.
“It’s quite a lot when you look back. For sure, the Macau wins, Spa, even ADAC [GT Masters]. There are many, many nice moments.
“I will miss it. For sure it will not be easy to repeat but I will try my best.
“This was my last gift for AMG and now I hope that I will not be beaten by them.”