Last week in Melbourne, Pastor Maldonado had looked set to be about to deliver a sixth place finish in the Grand Prix until he spun out at the last minute. Seven days later, and it was Bruno Senna who finally managed to deliver that misplaced sixth position to the Grove, Oxfordshire-based Williams F1 team.

"I am really excited about the result today," said Senna. "I'm so happy that I have scored points for the team after a very tough race."

Atrocious conditions such as those that the F1 teams faced at Sepang for the Malaysian Grand prix were exactly the sort of leveller that allows the smaller teams to challenge the bigger names, as Senna pointed out.

"It's on days like to today that you can show what you can do in difficult conditions," he said. "I knew we had to attack after the restart, so it was very satisfying to push hard, not make any mistakes and to make my way up through the field."

"It was a real rollercoaster of a race and the whole team are delighted to get our first points of the season," said Mark Gillan, the team's chief operations engineer. "Bruno drove very well finishing in sixth, having been last at the restart."

Incredibly for Williams given how bad their form was in 2011, they nearly had both drivers in the points this weekend. Unfortunately, Pastor Maldonado once again suffered a late retirement while running in tenth place - although at least this time he can take comfort that it was entirely nothing to do with him.

"Very frustrating to lose a potential double points finish due to an engine failure on Pastor's car," said Renault Sport F1 team support leader Laurent Debout. "We are still looking into the problem but apologies to the team and we'll look to make amends in China."

It was a shame for the Venezuelan driver, who had coped admirably with the difficult race conditions up until the point his engine let him down two laps from the end.

"It was very difficult today with conditions changing so quickly at the start," he recalled after the race. "I had poor visibility in the pitlane so missed the box entry after the restart, which dropped me down the order. I was then just pushing every lap and our pace was very consistent."

There certainly seems good reason for both drivers and the whole team to be optimistic ahead of the next Grand Prix in Shanghai, China on April 15.