Heikki Kovalainen admitted he was thrilled with his performance in the Monaco Grand Prix after a 13th place finish that saw Caterham move up to tenth in the constructors' championship.
The Finn made the most of the fracas ahead at St Devote on the opening lap to make up places and got himself in front of the McLaren of Jenson Button in the process.
From that point onwards, Kovalainen produced an impressive driver to keep the Briton at bay with Caterham also getting its strategy right to ensure that when he made his opening pitstop, Kovalainen was able to resume back ahead of his rival.
Although his pace dropped off when rain started to fall late on, and he was then forced to pit for a new nose after a clash with Sergio Perez, Kovalainen brought his car home in 13th place; the best result for the three 'new' teams this season to move Caterham up a place in the standings.
“That was obviously a great race for the team and I'm delighted we've got tenth place back and recorded our highest finish of the season,” he said. “Despite that I think we could have had even more, but the rain came at just the wrong moment for us. If it had been fully wet and everyone had pitted we'd have been able to keep 12th, possibly even made up more in the stops, but when the light rain started falling my brake temperatures dropped and I wasn't quite able to keep up the pace I'd had throughout the race up to that point.
"However - this is a really good day for the team, and it's great to get back to the garage and see everyone in such good spirits. This type of track was always going to give us the chance to fight, I'd said that before the race, and it was really good fighting with Jenson for as long as I did, keeping him behind me and really pushing. We have more to come from this car throughout the season, so I think we have more races like this to look forward to, and results like today make all the hard work the whole team put in worth it.”
Team boss Tony Fernandes said he felt the race was one of the most exciting enjoyed by the team since it joined the grid back in 2010 – with the moment Kovalainen rejoined ahead of Button being the best moment so far.
"I am obviously a very happy man today,” he said. “That was one of the most tense but most exciting races we have had since we came into the sport just two and a half years ago, and to be not only racing Jenson's McLaren, but to be keeping him behind us and to be able to resist his attacks is a huge achievement for a team that is still young, still growing and hungrier than ever to succeed.
“In fact, when Heikki passed Jenson out of the pits that was definitely the most exciting moment in my Formula 1 career and something that I will remember for ever.”