Lucas di Grassi says his Malaysian Grand Prix performance showed the competitiveness of the Virgin Racing team after achieving the squad's first race finish.
The Brazilian saw the chequered flag for the first time this year after finishing in 14th position, three laps behind race winner Sebastian Vettel. Di Grassi was the highest-placed driver in a car from a new team, and the Virgin racer was buoyed by the result.
"It was a very tough race today, physically and mentally, but I'm so happy to bring the Virgin Racing car home to the finish," said di Grassi. "We were well ahead of the other new teams, which meant that we could afford to ease off a little to make sure nothing got in the way of our result today. It has been a long wait and we've had some tough times in the past few months, but we know that we're making progress and we can go on to achieve better things.
"Today showed that we are truly competitive and it's a great feeling that our fight has really started now."
Teammate Timo Glock retired from the race after making contact with the Lotus of Jarno Trulli, the German conceding the incident had been his fault.
"I had a pretty good start and the first laps were quite fun with a lot of fights going on," he said. "I dropped behind Jarno and in general I was quite a lot quicker than him. I tried to overtake but locked the rears and for some reason the anti-stall didn't kick in.
"Unfortunately, I hit Jarno and it was my mistake. But it's great that Lucas finished the race, and ahead of Lotus, which is good for the team. I hope that in the next race we can get both cars to the finish."