Daniil Kvyat made an impressive return to Formula 1 after almost 18 months away as he “pushed like an animal” to score a point for Toro Rosso in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

In his first start since the 2017 United States Grand Prix, Kvyat managed to battle from 15th on the grid to finish the race 10th, bringing home one point.

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The Russian ran a long first stint to jump some of the early stoppers and retained his advantage after pitting. He then fended off Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly for the final 20 laps in the fight for P10.

“It wasn’t an easy one - one of the most difficult points earned I would say - but very satisfying at the same time because we kept a quicker car behind us the whole race,” Kvyat said.

“It’s very encouraging for us as a team. We were catching a lot the teams ahead of us too. I think many positives [to take] from this race.

“My race was just battling a lot from Lap 1 until Lap 58. I was constantly battling someone in front or behind, defending. It was a very demanding race, but like I said, it happened a bit of everything today.

“Nothing can scare me any more really.”

Kvyat feared his chances of points were over when he slid into the gravel at Turn 3 when trying to pass Lance Stroll, who would go on to finish ninth.

“It was a late move, I was coming very fast. I tried, locked the inside front wheel, and it was very frustrating,” Kvyat explained.

“I thought what if the race is lost, but then they told me I still have a bit of a gap behind. It was hard to stay cool, but then I pushed like an animal the next few laps and I was on his back again in eight or nine laps.

“It was very impressive to be honest. It was a good, satisfying race.”

Having not taken part in a race of any form since he was dropped by Toro Rosso after the 2017 United States Grand Prix, Kvyat admitted he had forgotten how intense F1 race weekends could be, but was pleased to rediscover the routine heading into the rest of the season.

“We did all of the race simulations in Barcelona, but it’s not the same when you have the whole weekend approach,” Kvyat said.

“I kind of forgot a bit how it is. Qualy also feels a bit different with traffic management, so I think going to Bahrain, it’s a nice baggage of experience for me.

“I’ve been here for many, many years, but still in some ways I had to learn some things again."