NEW DELHI, Oct 26, 2012 (AFP) - Mexican Esteban Gutierrez beamed with delight after making his Formula One debut as Sauber's replacement for compatriot Sergio Perez in Friday morning's opening practice session.
Although Perez, who had been ill, returned for the afternoon's second practice session, Gutierrez, 21, had enough time in the cockpit of the Swiss team's car to make an impact.
He said: "It was a great experience to step in for Sergio. For me it was the first time I have been at the wheel of the C31 -- as I have only done straightline testing so far.
"Also I didn't know the track before, which made it an even more interesting session. I really enjoyed seeing from the inside of the cockpit what I had only seen from the outside.
"It was also very interesting to be part of an official Formula 1 event for the first time. It is obviously different to testing and it is challenging to stay focused.
"The circuit here is amazing, especially with the chain of fast corners. However, my target was to progress during that session and make sure I brought the car home in one piece."
Gutierrez completed 29 laps on his way to the 20th quickest time of the session, 1.4 seconds off team-mate Japanese Kamui Kobayashi's time.