Formula 1 debutant Stoffel Vandoorne says he couldn't have wished for a better first qualifying session, having beaten McLaren teammate Jenson Button by two places.
Vandoorne, who substitutes for the injured Fernando Alonso in Bahrain, looked in danger of missing out on Q2 early on, but instead managed to advance and even outperform Button.
"I think I can be very happy with that for my Formula 1 debut, I couldn't really wish for anything better," Vandoorne said.
"Already from yesterday at the end of the practice sessions I felt very confident with the car - and I knew I could do a good job.
"But it's not always knowing it, you always have to do it - and I think I made the most of it today."
Asked whether his debut performance sent out a message about his readiness for a full-time F1 seat, the reigning GP2 champion said he was not sure.
He did then add: "I think I more or less maximised all the chances I had - when you have the one shot in a Formula 1 car, you always have to make the most of it.
"Even though it's only the one time and people know I haven't tested the car, they still expect something from you."
Praise from Boullier and Button
The Belgian's efforts in his first qualifying were praised both by team manager Eric Boullier and teammate Button.
Boullier said: "[Stoffel did] rather well, obviously.
"He didn’t put a foot wrong so far. He stepped in, and we can be happy with the preparation we did with him because he did well.”
Button, meanwhile, conceded: "He's done a good job. I haven't done a good job.
"He's very competitive. He's quick, he's won here before. I think he's proven how good he is in a place like this and he's done a lot of testing with us and proven his speed. He did a good job."