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Lebanese Brazilian Driver Felipe Nasr crossed the line in fifth at the end of his F1 debut in Australia.

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© Sutton Images


Felipe Nasr admits he was slightly overwhelmed when he crossed the line in fifth at the end of his F1 debut in Australia.

The Sauber rookie turned in a superb drive in tough circumstances in Melbourne, managing his tyres superbly and holding off Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo at two different stages of the race. Nasr was visibly emotional when told his result was the best debut by a Brazilian driver in F1 – company including world champions Ayrton Senna, Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet.

When asked if he was holding back tears when he crossed the line, Nasr replied: “Of course. It was a unique feeling for myself, I couldn’t ask for better. It was a dream come true and I want more, I will keep searching for more.”

“Surprisingly I was calm from beginning to the end, even when I was sat on the grid. I think the team made me prepared for it. That’s what I was happy for – I was not seeking information; it all came as I expected which only shows the team gave me good preparation.”

Nasr navigated successfully through a tight Turn 1 which saw Pastor Maldonado pitched into the wall and he said he was impressed by the Sauber car for the rest of the race.

“Turn 1 was very confusing. We had three cars wide next to the other and I cannot see where we could have done it different, there was not enough space for everyone. We had some contact with the Lotus and luckily did not have any damage and could continue the race.

“I had a very good restart getting one of the Toro Rosso cars and then had a clear track in front of me so concentrated on getting the tyres as long as I could, making sure we could have gone through our strategy as planned – which worked. I think I had a great car in my hands, I was impressed by the car we had an able to keep the Red Bull behind. The strategy went well, the pit stop went well. The final stint on the primes were quite consistent and again we had a lot of pressure from the Red Bull and we were able to cope with it.”

It’s been a tough weekend for Sauber with Giedo van der Garde’s legal action against the team dominating headlines before the race and leaving Nasr and Marcus Ericsson’s involvement this weekend in doubt. Nasr admits that situation hampered his preparation.

“The race was tough of course but the whole weekend in general was difficult. To arrive in my first ever grand prix and have to go through all this situation was something I did not expect. It was really hard for myself to keep everything under control, my concentration. Mentally it was difficult to keep all my focus when we had the chance to drive the car.”

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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