Bruno Senna hopes that his best F1 result to date will be enough to ease the pressure on him to perform.
The Brazilian recovered from a first lap spin and subsequent pit-stop to fit a new nose to his Williams to claim sixth place in the rain-affected Malaysian Grand Prix, bettering the two points he claimed for ninth in last year's Italian round and giving his new team a welcome leg up into seventh in the constructors' standings.
Heading into the 2012 campaign, Senna, the nephew of triple world champion Ayrton, was still widely perceived as a 'pay driver', who only ousted veteran Rubens Barrichello from the Williams line-up by his ability to bring more sponsor dollars to the struggling Grove outfit. He hopes the Sepang result, however, could be a springboard to better recognition of his abilities behind the wheel.
"Having a good result takes some of the weight off your shoulders," he admitted to Britain's Sun
newspaper, "There will always be critics and you are never going to please everybody but, for sure, having a strong result will take some wind out of the critics' sails.
"Hopefully, I can make sure I keep having strong results to show I deserve my place here."
Senna's result in round two of the 2012 championship provided Williams with some respite after team-mate Pastor Maldonado - himself a victim of the 'pay driver' label - posted his second penultiamte lap retirement from a points position in as many races. This time it was not the Venezuelan's fault, as his Melbourne shunt was followed by engine failure at Sepang.
The new FW34 appears to be a marked improvement over its predecessor, allowing Senna and Maldonado to move back into the midfield, scrapping with the likes of Force India, Toro Rosso and Sauber for points at every round.