Felipe Massa has admitted he felt he had to perform in Bahrain or else people would have immediately speculated he wasn't the same as he was prior to his horrific crash last summer.
Massa, who was forced to sit-out the remainder of the F1 2009 season following his accident in qualifying for the Hungarian GP, was back racing at the pinnacle of the sport for the first time two weeks ago and the Brazilian was right on it, eventually finishing runner-up to his new Ferrari team-mate, Fernando Alonso.
Speaking to British newspaper, The Guardian
, Massa added that while he had no doubts about himself, he was still relieved not to have made any 'silly' errors.
"I had waited so many months for the first race, but I was excited rather than nervous about sitting on an F1 start grid for the first time since last year's German GP," he told the 'paper.
"I never had any doubt about my condition because everything I did felt exactly the same as it did before my accident. When I was fitness training it was all going in the right direction and all the activities I did in normal life were as before.
"All I had in mind was to do a good job for everyone, to get a good start for the season, not to do anything silly.
"It's always important to go well on the first race weekend, but in my case it was even more important, because if I had made a mistake some people would have immediately said: 'You see, he is not the same as before.'
"That would not have been nice because even if I had made a mistake, it was not going to be connected to my accident at all.
"As it turned out the first race weekend went very well for me and for the team. That was down to the fact we have a good car and the team did a perfect job over the weekend in Bahrain.
"It would be impossible to have a better start to a season than to take maximum points from the race, and that's exactly what Fernando and I managed."
Meanwhile, despite criticism that the opening race was a bit dull, Massa stated it is too soon to make any judgements, although he did concede the new regulations have made it harder to overtake.
"I have seen some criticism that maybe the tyre rules and lack of refuelling made the grand prix boring to watch for the spectators, but I think it is too early to comment after just one race," he explained.
"However, it is true the situation at the start of the race is that we are six to seven seconds slower than in qualifying.
"Running on very low fuel to get a good grid position, you have a massive amount of grip, but then on Sunday you have a very heavy car with absolutely no grip in the early laps. Added to this, if you are following someone closely, trying to overtake, you lose more aerodynamic downforce, so these two factors combined mean it is even harder to overtake."