Jerome D'Ambrosio admitted he is very happy to be able to race in the Australian Grand Prix after making the grid in his first outing.
The Belgian rookie qualified a second behind Marussia Virgin teammate Timo Glock, and only around half a second within the 107 percent time in 22nd position. D'Ambrosio admitted the pressure was on during qualifying given Virgin's lack of pace during practice.
"I knew that it was going to be fairly close, so it was interesting," D'Ambrosio told AUTOSPORT. "But, in the end, all I can do is the best that I can in the car. It is not easy because it's all new for me to qualify in F1 and there are many things to learn – even more than in GP2 with the speed differences between the cars and everything.
"This is something that I have to look at. If I look at my qualifying there were some really positives points, the fact that we were within 107 percent, we're going to race tomorrow, the team has made great progress but now I have to look at it again and say it's a starting point.
"I need to get better all the time and what I take from this qualifying is in Malaysia to focus on getting proper laps in without being in traffic. This is something that I have to work on with my engineer because on my first set I had a proper lap, but on my second set I didn't have a chance to put a lap together. It's all new for me and I'm really happy to be in the race."
He added: "I'm really happy about being on the grid tomorrow. I have been picturing myself for the last 10 or 15 years watching the first grand prix of the year on TV. I'm really looking forward to the race."
Despite the lack of competitiveness, D'Ambrosio insisted he was happy with the progress made since testing.
"Obviously, it's not easy to drive because it's an F1 car and they are not easy! But we have made progress compared to Barcelona and this is really important for us. In our situation, the important thing is that every time we hit the track we get better whether it's by two-tenths, five-tenths or a second. This is what we have done all winter. Our starting point is not where we wanted it to be – no one denies that – but after that we kept on working and we are here and within 107 percent."