Daniil Kvyat says he had to engage in "some brave racing" to secure P4 in Sunday's Emilia Romagna GP, his best result of the year with AlphaTauri.
The Russian was on his own to defend the Faenza squad's fortunes in its home race after an engine issue sidelined teammate Pierre Gasly after just eight laps.
After launching his race from 8th on the grid, Kvyat gained two positions before a change from the soft to the hard compound tyre pushed him out of the top ten.
But the AlphaTauri driver put his head down and gradually regained his footing among the first half of the field.
From seventh at the end of the late Safety Car period during which he had undertaken a second stop, Kvyat made the most of his fresher soft tyres on the restart to overhaul Sergio Perez, Alex Albon and Charles Leclerc.
But fourth was as good as it got for the Russian who was unable to reel in the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo for a sensational podium finish.
"It was a good race, it was a good, strong result," enthused Kvyat. "And yeah, of course now I'm talking and thinking more about the podium, because it was so close.
"Really, really difficult on the restart, but I managed to do some good moves. Daniel just warmed up his tyres. And yeah, it was very hard. Very close until the end, but I had to do some brave racing today. I had some fun today."
Kvyat indeed got his elbows out to put one over on Leclerc during his impressive first lap following the Safety Car period.
"I said, 'I go for it now,' after the restart," he said. "I felt the confidence, I like the old school tracks. Maybe I'm just an old school guy in the wrong time!"
Both Gasly and Kvyat's strong performance in qualifying at Imola coupled with the latter's bag of points on Sunday reflect AlphaTauri's solid progress of late
"I believe always more and more in our potential," he said. "As a team, and me as a driver. And I keep feeling better in the car through the year.
"There are some things that we understand – I mean, my side of the garage understands now – I wish we understood them a bit more in the beginning, how to make the car work a bit better, but we really got there, since Spa it was a good step.
"Pierre has been very fast this year. But since Spa, if you look at it, we were really close and very competitive. And it was a good race today.
"It's very important for me to get this weight out, like a very strong result, very strong race, and I'm happy."
Asked after Sunday's race if Kvyat's solid performance at Imola could turn around his chances of remaining with AlphaTauri in 2021, Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko immediately dismissed that prospect.
"No," laughed the Austrian. "It was a good performance but it will help him in the future or to position himself in the future..."