Williams driver Logan Sargeant expressed his delight at finishing 12th on his F1 debut in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.
Starting 16th on the grid, the American drove an assured race to finish as the highest rookie in the field at Sakhir, ably supporting teammate Alex Albon, who finished 10th to ensure Williams scored points at the opening race of an F1 season for the first time since 2017.
"Really pleased with my first race," Sargeant told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"I feel like everything operationally, from race start to pit-stops, [Virtual Safety Cars], everything went smoothly, and really happy with the pace that me and Alex had today.
"I think the team's done an amazing job all weekend, just unlocking that pace.
"We probably didn't expect where we were now compared to the test, and that's just a massive testament to the work that the team has done. Super proud of everything."
Viewed by others:
An opportunistic Lap 1
The first American driver to race in F1 since 2015, Sargeant’s solid debut started well when he made up two places on Lap 1, and the 22-year-old said he simply looked to take advantage of any opportunities on the opening lap.
"I just looked for the gaps and tried to fill them," said Sargeant.
"I didn't ask for too much, but it just fell my way, so I really enjoyed it. I loved every second of it. I loved the on-track battles, and it was super fun."
Carrying over F2 form
Sargeant added that he felt largely unfazed at the prospect of competing in his debut Grand Prix, and said that his 2022 experience of Formula 2 machinery came in handy as he sought to manage his tyres across the 56-lap race.
"I think before the formation lap, there was a little extra [nerves]. But to be honest, I felt like once I got into the race, once I got into the rhythm, it all felt very natural," said Sargeant.
"To be honest, I don't think they expected this much tyre deg[radation] coming into the year, and it almost felt a little bit like F2 in terms of deg, so that felt like I was just carrying over what I did last year, trying to protect the rears and maintain pace."