Toro Rosso have been singing the praises of Sebastien Bourdais after he joined a select group of drivers to have scored points on their Formula One debut.
The four-times Champ Car Champion finally made his F1 bow in the Australian Grand Prix, with Bourdais making full use of his experience of American open-wheel racing to climb to fourth place as a chaotic afternoon brought repeated safety car interruptions.
Bourdais' promising debut then looked set to come to a sorry conclusion when the Ferrari engine on his car failed with just three laps remaining.
However, an attritional race which saw just seven cars finish on the road eventually allowed a seventh-place classification and two championship points.
Vindication Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger later said the 29-year-old Frenchman's performance was a vindication of the team's decision to hand him a belated F1 debut.
"Bourdais proved all through the weekend that he was the right choice to put alongside (Sebastian) Vettel," he said
"He was a bit unlucky in qualifying but he had a fantastic race, fighting with the best, and he managed to keep his position even towards the end on old tires.
"He made no mistakes, reading the race in the right way from beginning to end."
Bourdais became the 57th driver to score on his debut, joining a list that includes team-mate Vettel - who crashed out on the opening lap at Albert Park - Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.
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