Hispania Racing was able to celebrate its maiden F1 finish in Australia after Karun Chandhok battled to a 14th place finish at Albert Park.
After a difficult season opener in Bahrain – where its two cars hit the track for the first time – Hispania headed for Melbourne with the target of trying to get to the finish for the first time.
Following issues in practice, Bruno Senna and Chandhok qualified at the rear of the field, with Senna then forced to retire early on with hydraulic problems.
That left Chandhok to fly the flag and despite running off track and damaging the floor of the car, he was able to take the finish as the final finisher in 14th place.
“To finish was very difficult today, and all the more satisfying because of that,” he said. “I dedicate this race result to all the mechanics and engineers who worked so hard since Bahrain, without any pre-season testing. This is a fantastic day for the team and a great step forward. I am proud to have ended our first race.
“At the start, I could see a big accident developing ahead of me and tried to keep to the inside to avoid trouble. I was able to avoid getting caught up in the aftermath and was in 16th position. I pitted on my eighth lap like the Ferraris and it was comfortable until mid-race where I was 15th.
“Later I changed tyres on my 51st lap, only seven laps before the end. We achieved the best result we could do today. We have to keep pushing and working and we will manage to finish even higher.”
Team boss Colin Kolles lauded the result as a 'great step forward' for the team following its difficult run-up to the season and said that Hispania's season would now start in earnest next weekend in Malaysia.
“Having Karun end the race in 14th position is a great step forward,” he said. “We reached the goal with one of the two cars in the finish. I'm sorry for Bruno because he did a good job all weekend. Karun Chandhok drove the team's first full race and finished in 14th position the first race for the team, which was really fantastic, especially with these difficult conditions.
“The team did a great job and brought two very competitive cars to the grid. Now we will keep on pushing and just focus on our preparation for Malaysia, where our season will really begin.”