Romain Grosjean says he hopes qualifying a strong third for his first Australian Grand Prix with the Lotus team is a signal that the team will be able to fight at the front this season.
The Frenchman, who took part in seven grands prix during his first foray in to F1 with the same team back in 2009, posted a Q3 time less than 0.4sec slower than poleman Lewis Hamilton and comfortably led the Lotus team's attack after Kimi Raikkonen was bumped out of Q1. The Finn will start from 18th place.
"It is fantastic for everybody [in the team]," he said, "It is really nice to be back in F1 and I'm enjoying it.
"Winter testing went pretty well and I am proud to be part of this experience with Lotus. I have a few people who believe in me and I am back almost at the top. I hope we can keep going all season long and in the end it will be a nice story."
Asked where the speed was coming from on Melbourne's Albert Park track, Grosjean replied: "A little bit of everywhere. A bit from myself – I am discovering the track in drier conditions – and the car works very well. If we can manage to bring some [new] bits to every race, then hopefully we can get between the guys in the front."
Grosjean, the reigning GP2 Series champion, was dropped by Renault after a disappointing debut in the sport three years ago, but has since rebuilt his career and said in the post-qualifying press conference that his was a good example why drivers should never give up.
"That is the lesson," he said. "Today I am very happy to be here, proud to be here. They gave me the toughest time. I am proud to be part of Lotus team and the atmosphere and experience can be very good, we have been working well during winter to do our best to make best of everything we can.
"It is not a dream – we did it, and tomorrow we can work to get the best in the race and the next races as well."