Felipe Nasr believes his top-five finish on his Formula 1 debut for Sauber in the Australian Grand Prix shows he does not deserve to be labelled as a 'pay driver'.
The rookie bounced back from a tough start to the weekend that was overshadowed by Giedo van der Garde's legal challenge against Sauber to take fifth place on his debut, beating Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull in the process.
Nasr, who finished third in GP2 last year, believes that his performance was a good response to those who believe he 'bought' a seat on the 2015 grid.
"I think it's a good answer to put results on track," he said in response to a question about being called a pay driver.
"I don't know where this pay driver thing came from because I've always had people investing in my career, my family never had the money to do it.
"What's the difference between being supported by Red Bull paying for your drive, and having sponsors that want to be with you?
"I don't see where people get this impression that I'm a pay driver.
"What's the problem with having a sponsor on my car? It's strange to see people talking about that."
The Brazilian admitted to feeling emotional at the end of the race.
"It was a unique feeling, I couldn't ask for better," he said. "It was a dream come true.
"It's been some hard years to arrive in Formula 1, and to see that finish line was a big relief.
"It's a pleasant feeling for everyone that believed in me since the beginning.
"For the team as well - they went through so many difficult moments last year, so it's a combination of feelings, and it was so nice to see that finish line."