Jean-Eric Vergne praised the improvements made by Toro Rosso during the early part of the season after scoring his first Formula 1 World Championship points by finishing eighth at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
After starting 18th, Vergne made a strong start and found himself seventh when the race was stopped early on after electing to eschew a stop to change from intermediate tires to full wets when the rain was at its heaviest.
With race control mandating that all cars used wets upon the restart for safety reasons, the Frenchman did not lose any further time making an extra stop compared to the drivers he was racing.
"To go from 18th on the grid to eighth and in the points at the end is great," the former British F3 champion said. "I stayed out for a long time on the intermediates after the start and then the red flag came along to help me so I was able to switch to extreme wets on the grid. If I'd had to resume behind the safety car on the intermediates it would have been very hard to stay on track!"
Vergne did switch back to intermediates and eventually to slicks as track conditions improved, but abandoned his chase of seventh-placed Paul di Resta with 10 laps to go in order to focus on maintaining his position.
"As soon as the track was dry enough I came in again for intermediates, but I lost a bit of time before I made the switch to slicks. After that I was catching di Resta, but with the backmarkers in between us I could not get close enough to pass, so I just managed the situation, concentrating on bringing the car home," he added.
"I am happy to settle for this eighth place and I plan to keep improving step by step. After these two opening races, the overall performance has been quite good and I feel we can make progress in China starting from this good baseline."