BARCELONA, Spain, May 22, 2011 (AFP) - F1 rookie Sergio Perez said he was thrilled after claiming his first points finish in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.
The Mexican Sauber driver climbed three places during the race at the Circuit de Catalunya and finished in ninth place.
Perez, still only 21, admitted he had a tough race but was delighted with the result.
"It was a tough race today and a hard fight for points" he said, "I'm really happy we made it."
"My first points in Formula 1 are obviously something special for me, and it is good for the team that Kamui also scored.
Perez thanked his team and hopes it is the start of a new era for Sauber.
"The team had a very good race strategy and did a perfect job at the pit stops" he added. "I feel that for me today is a turning point in this season. We will continue well and score more points."
His team-mate Japanese Kamui Kobayashi finshed tenth, also collecting points for the team despite a puncture in the opening lap.
He said: "I lost a lot of time on lap one today, after the start I was pushed into the gravel and then another car touched me, which resulted in a left rear puncture.
"I had to pit and was relegated to last, which of course cost us a very good set of the soft tyres. "I had to do quite a long stint on the harder tyres, which was not easy, but overall the race pace was okay. I'm happy to have scored for the fourth
time in a row, and think we are going in the right direction."