Jaime Alguersuari enjoyed his strongest outing to date in Malaysia, where the Toro Rosso driver battled bravely on his way to ninth position.
Fresh from scoring his first points in Formula 1, AUTOSPORT talked to the Spanish driver.
Q. How does it feel to have finally scored your first points?
Jaime Alguersuari: I think it was amazing to get points here. We never expected to do that on a track like this, because it was my first time here - and qualifying conditions were a bit tough for us. But the race worked out really well.
We knew that our race pace was quite good and it is our strong point from what we have in Toro Rosso. We just need to improve the qualifying in both the wet and the dry - and that is part of the learning process.
Q. You said after the Australian Grand Prix that racing against Michael Schumacher was a good learning experience from you. Did the lesson you take from there help you in Malaysia?
JA: Definitely. Michael showed me the way to drive a Formula 1 car on the limit, with other drivers. This was very important. To finish the Australian Grand Prix and to fight against him showed me the way - like how to be aggressive with other people. The race in Malaysia worked out like that with [Vitaly] Petrov and Nico [Hulkenberg]. They were amazing fights, both were clean, and that is the way to do it in Formula 1.
Q. How was the fight with Nico in particular?
JA: I took him in the slipstream into Turn 3, and then I outbraked him. He was then closing up, and then on the exit I came out a bit better than him because I had the optimum line. I put the power on a bit earlier than him but the next corner was Turn 5, and it was on his side - a left hand corner. He was on the left, I was on the right - on the outside - and I had more to lose than win, but at points like that you need to take risks for the points. So I did it and it worked well. It was clean, he understeer a little bit so he lifted off - which meant I could overtake him. It went well for me this time, but that may not happen next time!
Q. So no fear of an accident then?
JA: No. At that moment I was just thinking about the points. It was the same feeling I had with Michael, because when we both made contact. This is at the art of racing and it is very nice - but at the end you do it because you need the points. Today it worked out for me.
Q. Is the team now in a position to start scoring regular points?
JA: Definitely. There is still a lot to come from my side. To know how the tyres degrade - how the option and prime behave. You come to a new track, you do the qualifying and everything is different, very difficult. But I am really expecting a lot when I come to the European track and I go to the places I know because I will be able to show my performance at 100 per cent. My knowledge of the car will be much higher, so I am expecting a lot for the second half of the season.
Q. You also outpaced by team-mate Sebastien Buemi here. What does that mean for you?
JA: For Sebastien, I have big respect for him. He is a great driver, very young like me, and I use him as a big reference. What he did in the past in F3, GP2 and now F1. He is the way to show the young drivers how we are. He is a big example and it is important to work with him, see how he is doing. It is good to be in front of me but at the moment there is still some performance missing from my side because I am not at 100 percent for F1. I need more time here, understand more the tyres and the car, and understand all there is about F1.
Q. Was this your best race in F1?
JA: I think so, yes. Because of the result, because of the management of the tyres, the knowledge, and because it was a difficult track for me.