Jan Charouz declared himself highly satisfied to be little more than half a second adrift of HRT race driver Daniel Ricciardo as he made his grand prix weekend debut in Brazil.
Czech 24-year-old Charouz had already tested with both HRT and Renault in last week's Abu Dhabi sessions. He took Tonio Liuzzi's HRT for this morning's practice session at Interlagos and though he was slowest, he was within a respectable 0.626sec of Ricciardo.
"I think I did quite a good job as I was pretty close to Daniel which was the main goal," said Charouz. "I don't think five tenths are too much.
"Straight away the car felt quite good, it's very easy to drive but I would've liked to have had a bit more tires because by the time I learned the track the tires weren't at their best but it's the same for everyone and I'm happy with my result. The aim was to do as many laps as possible and to get used to the car and the track and we did that."
He added that simply to be in a grand prix session for the first time was an honor he would not forget.
"It was fantastic, just to be on the track with people like [Michael] Schumacher, [Sebastian] Vettel and [Fernando] Alonso is incredible," said Charouz. "It's a bit different to testing because there are a lot more cars on track so you have to make space for others to not cause traffic."
Team boss Colin Kolles was pleased with how Charouz had performed.
"He was focused and worked well with the team," Kolles said. "It was his first real F1 grand prix experience and he lived up to the expectations, doing more laps than anyone else and finishing just six tenths behind Daniel."