Lotus Racing boss Tony Fernandes insisted he was 'over the moon' with the result of the Bahrain Grand Prix after the team secured a finish from its F1 debut.
While both Virgin Racing and Hispania Racing saw both cars retires, Lotus successfully took a finish thanks to Heikki Kovalainen, who took the chequered flag in 15th place.
While team-mate Jarno Trulli was forced to stop on the final lap having run into hydraulic issues, the Italian was classified as a finisher in 17th, leaving Fernandes a happy man.
“I'm completely over the moon!” he said. “I cannot describe the feeling. Six months of work and to have both cars finish is just unbelievable. We're thrilled, we're happy and the spirit in the team is fantastic. I'm really proud of Jarno and of Heikki and everyone here. It's a great start and better than I could have dreamt of. We wanted to finish the race and to do so ahead of established teams is fantastic.
“From here we keep going. Before the race Clive Chapman gave me Colin Chapman's old Lotus cap and said 'when you win the first race you'll be the man to throw this up in the air like my Dad used to.' That meant a lot to me, it was a wonderful gesture and it's like handing over the mantle of one of motor racing's great dynasties.”
Kovalainen insisted he was pleased with a finish on his debut for the team, adding that the goal now is to close the gap to the established outfits on the grid.
“It was a good race for our team - to get both cars to the finish is a great achievement,” he said. “My car didn't have a single problem, I know Jarno did and managed to nurse his car to the end, but the primary goal was to get both cars to the end and we achieved that. So far the team has reached every goal we set ourselves so that is fantastic.
“In terms of my race, I had a good start and was battling with a lot of guys we didn't think we'd be fighting with. My tyres were fine, and the pitstop was good, but I lost a bit of time whilst letting cars past, and we'll look at the strategy for Australia to work around that better. I really enjoyed driving the car, it felt really good and it was good to push. Everybody in the team should be really happy but now the honeymoon is over and we need to start working on better results.”