Pierre Gasly expressed relief at reaching the finish of the Japanese Grand Prix after his Toro Rosso developed a suspension issue during the closing stages.
Gasly made it through to Q3 at Suzuka and spent much of the race battling for the points-paying positions, relinquishing seventh to the charging Daniel Ricciardo.
The Frenchman fended off a threat from Sergio Perez – with the ensuing contact leaving the Racing Point driver in the wall – to classify eighth, equalling his best result since returning to Toro Rosso.
“We knew in the race will be tough, already in the morning we didn't expect to make it to Q3, managed to qualify ninth, which was really good,” said Gasly.
“In the race, we knew would be difficult and it was the case.
“It was just a really long race, quite intense, we also had a suspension problem at the end of the race, which made it even more difficult.
“In the last few laps, [it was] just all over the place, in 130R it was so neutral, every lap going through it with the DRS wide open. So, that was really tough.”
Gasly finished as the lead Toro Rosso driver in spite of having just one session to prepare for qualifying, after missing FP1 while Super Formula champion Naoki Yamamoto ran.
“With the way of the weekend, without driving in FP1, FP2 was the only session at Suzuka, and it's a difficult track,” he said.
“To get all your marks and get the car where you want – we didn't have much time and wasn't the best preparation of the weekend but in the end, we managed to be ninth in FP2, ninth in quaily and eighth in the race.
“So, definitely the most complete weekend so far with Toro Rosso, and every weekend seems to be going better and better, and also the way we work with the engineers I'm really happy
“There’s a lot of positives of the weekend carrying forward in the next couple of races.”