Pascal Wehrlein was delighted with his efforts after finishing P11 in his first race of the 2017 season.
The Sauber driver missed the opening two races after falling behind with his training schedule when he suffered a serious back injury at the Race of Champions event in January.
But he made a remarkable return in Bahrain which even took him by surprise.
"I'm surprised how good it is," Wehrlein told Motorsport.com. "You can see what a big change these two weeks of training have been to me.
"This race was great in terms of performance. Mentally it was a great weekend. I know what I can do and I know I can be quick.
"I'm really happy to come back like this, it's like I've never been away."
Wehrlein also discussed the criticism he received when he opted to withdraw late from the Australian Grand Prix.
"I heard some crazy comments from other people about myself," he added. "What I should do or what they would do in my situation even though they don't know what my situation was.
"[Melbourne] was just too early. It was eight weeks after three broken vertebrae. I couldn't move for 5 weeks
"The best answer is to show the performance on track and to come back like this. I came back like I never had a break."