Sebastien Buemi felt his charge from 23rd on the grid to eighth in the Hungarian Grand Prix was one of his best performances in Formula 1, as he pulled off a points finish despite a five-place grid penalty.
The Toro Rosso driver was given the punishment after he was adjudged to have caused the collision that ended Nick Heidfeld's race at the Nurburgring. He made rapid progress in the damp early stages in Hungary today, and although he was less happy with his setup as the track dried, he said mid-race adjustments were key to allowance him to continue his charge into the points in the closing stages.
"A fantastic race, one of my best," said Buemi. "Starting right from the back row I got a super start and I passed around 10 cars on the opening lap. After that, I got into a good rhythm and was able to pass more cars on the damp track.
"Then, as it began to dry, I felt the setup was not perfect and I had too much understeer. I tried not to get upset about it and then the team did a very good job, working at the pit stop to change the wing angle which helped me to save the tires better and the stop was quick enough for me to jump up a few places.
"When the rain returned, I again felt the car was working very well and I was able to run at a good pace again, which helped me get into the points. It's nice to go on holiday now with another four points in the bag, especially starting with that five-place grid penalty."
Buemi cited his pass on Kamui Kobayashi for eighth place into the first corner as one of the highlights of his battle through the field.
"There were plenty of exciting moments, especially my passing move on Kobayashi," he said. "I was too slow to catch up with him on the straight so I had to pass him under braking which was right on the limit. It's great to have this result, which owes something to such a good strategy."
The second Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari clashed with Kobayashi as part of the same shuffle into the first corner, and finished 10th. He felt that collision and a moment on the damp track had cost him a much better result.
"Today, it was clear in my mind that I could have finished seventh," said Alguersuari. "I made one of my pitstops just as it began raining slightly again. With the tyres not yet up to temperature, at that point it was hard to stay on the track and I went off. But I carried on fighting and toward the end, it was unfortunate that I lost another place after the collision with Kobayashi, but as a team performance we can consider we did a good job today, so it is a nice way to go into the short break, although I can't wait to start again in Spa."
Team boss Franz Tost was thrilled with the result, which came in the squad's 100th race in its current guise.
"With some help from two excellent performances from our drivers, the team gave itself the best possible present to celebrate Scuderia Toro Rosso's 100th grand prix, since we first took to the track in Bahrain in 2006," said Tost.
"A combined eighth and 10th place finish is our best result of the season so far and from a strategy point of view, the team did an excellent job in difficult and changeable conditions, while the drivers made the most of that, delivering faultless drives without making any mistakes. Their lap times were also impressive this afternoon, so there are plenty of reasons to look forward to the rest of the season."