Kamui Kobayashi has revealed that he never knew his last corner move on Sebastien Buemi in the European Grand Prix was his last chance of the race.
The Japanese and his Sauber team had gambled on not stopping for tires during the first safety car period, and that move helped him run third for much of the event.
Following a switch to the super-soft compound a few laps from home, Kobayashi used his rubber advantage to drive past both Fernando Alonso and Buemi in the closing stages – and later confessed he did not know how near the end of the race it was.
"It was a great race," Kobayashi told AUTOSPORT. "With the prime tire I had really constant pace, which was good. I knew if I over-drove I would kill the tires, but when I changed I was only ninth – and knew I had better grip. I tried to overtake as many people as possible and got Fernando and Buemi.
"I was concentrating so hard on overtaking people that I didn't know how many laps were left. Then suddenly I understood, when I saw lots of guys waving at me, that that was the end of the race."
Kobayashi has also thanked Alonso for being so cooperative during their battle, fearing that if the Spaniard had given him a harder time they would have crashed.
"It was very risky for me, but I had no accident," said Kobayashi. "He is a very good driver so he knows everything that happens around his car.
"At the beginning of my move, in one moment, he tried to close the door but he recognized that we would crash if he closed the door. So he just gave it away. It was a great move for him and I really have to say thanks for him."
Although Kobayashi's brilliant drive at Valencia owed much to good luck behind the safety car, he is upbeat about a better performance from Sauber at the next race at Silverstone.
"This year I could not show so much my race performance because we had so many accidents. I was not really confident in the car, or track, but in Valencia I was quite confident and my pace was OK.
"I believe Silverstone will be good. Our car will be better there than Valencia and Canada because we are better in high speed corners, so I suppose it will be a better performance than here, and maybe we have a good opportunity to score points as well."