Paul di Resta says it was a thrill to have a front-running car in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.
The Force India driver was fast throughout all three segments of qualifying, and ultimately set the fourth-fastest time in Q3. He will, however, start in ninth place thanks to a five-place gearbox penalty.
Regardless of the penalty, the Scot agreed that it was a thrill to be so close to the front of the field during the session.
"It was, and what was nice about it was that each time we went out on track we were able to keep improving and improving and do something," he said. "Even in Q1 it was quite strange how long the session was. We went out, did a run, were in P4, and the team said they were confident I was through, so I sat in the garage. When we get into Q3 I knew if I could keep improving on my laptime then I would be in the top five.
"You have to give the guys credit. We obviously had a good simulator session and a good baseline to come here. We had a good philosophy, and each time we went on track we slowly dialed it in.
"Third in final practice, I was little hesitant as to whether we would be able to repeat that. But we ran in the top four throughout all of qualifying, and that shows the speed was there throughout the whole day.
"Unfortunately I start ninth, but if there was any day you need a result like that to influence your race and put you in a points position, then it was today. We're still in the top 10, we're starting in the points, so we really just need to look ahead."
According to di Resta, the trick to turning the qualifying pace into a race result will be speed on full tanks.
"The speed is there, we just have to hope we can do it on high fuel because we have been at a disadvantage to people around us at that point in the race. I'm certainly not ruling out tomorrow that's going to be the case.
"The first corner is the focus point, getting through that, a good launch is what you need. I'll take it step by step. The race is not obviously won at the beginning, it's won at the end."