Stoffel Vandoorne hailed his "best drive in Formula 1" to date following his seventh place finish in Malaysia as Fernando Alonso finished outside of the points.
The Belgian is beginning to find his stride at McLaren-Honda after back-to-back P7s and, after out-qualifying his team-mate on Sunday, he got the better of him in the race as well.
“I can definitely say that, for me, that was my best drive in Formula 1 until now,” said Vandoorne.
“To finish seventh on the circuit like this, and being very quick all weekend, to qualify seventh, we thought it was going to be very difficult today, and we had a fantastic race.
“I got a great, great start – and then we knew it was going to be difficult to keep the Force Indias and Williamses behind, but only [Sergio] Perez came through. We pushed like crazy, lap after lap, trying to manage the fuel and tyres at the same time.
“Tough conditions out there, but we managed the gap with Lance very well, so extremely satisfied with seventh.”
“The last races have been very, very good as well for me.
“I’m definitely working hard with the team, putting the pressure on [Alonso], and it’s good for the team spirit.”
Alonso finished in P11 and is hoping for an upturn in fortunes at Japan next weekend.
“We’ve had better days, definitely,” said Alonso. “It was a shame at corner 2 that the Williamses were in front of us and touched each other and we lost a few places there.
“Then we were always in the secondary group, always slower than our true pace, but we could not overtake. Hopefully in Japan we come back in a stronger form.”