Manor F1 team principal John Booth believes his team is slightly 'punching above its weight' after scrapping with the Toro Rosso and McLaren cars in the opening stages of the Italian Grand Prix.

Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi both inherited the team's best ever F1 qualifying slots since its debut in 2010 due to the grid penalties handed to the Red Bulls, Toro Rossos and McLarens to start 13th and 14th respectively.

The British driver in particular was involved in some exciting fights with the cars charging from the back which Booth was delighted by and feels Manor is currently exceeding expectations.

"Our reliability continues to be very encouraging, our pace is improving relative to the cars immediately ahead and both drivers are pushing each other hard," Booth said. "This combination of factors is really allowing us to punch a little above our weight at present and it was good to see Will in particular enjoying a good fight with the cars around him in the opening laps today."

Stevens says he felt comfortable in the Manor machine after finishing 15th and is optimistic ahead of the rest of the season.

"That was a good race. The car was well-balanced, we had good pace and for the first few laps I could enjoy some proper racing with the cars coming from behind us," Stevens enthused. "Inevitably, things settled down a bit after that but we were able to push hard and maintain the momentum.

"I was very comfortable this weekend and feel like things are going my way again, so now I'm really looking forward to the long-hauls."



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