Lando Norris was happy to finish fourth in Sunday's Bahrain GP, but the McLaren driver saw a glimmer of hope of snatching a podium in the wake of a botched pitstop by Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas.
Except for the laps that followed his first pitstop, Norris never ventured out of the top six at Sakhir.
A well-executed two-stop strategy and a flawless drive allowed the Briton to stake a claim for fourth in the final stages of the race.
But Norris was hoping to go one better and emulate his podium finish in last year's season opening round in Austria after Bottas suffered a 10-second plus pitstop shortly after the halfway point of the race.
"I was hoping that was him out of the race, to be honest," said Norris.
"I don’t wish that upon anyone, obviously. I thought for a minute something might have been coming from it – last year started to flash back a little bit, but very happy with P4.
"I think we had good pace, the car was nice and I was maintaining a good gap. It’s a good start to the season.
"Mercedes and Red Bull pulled away a lot but I passed the Ferrari [Charles Leclerc] cleanly on track on pure pace.
"We’ve got work to do, but for a first race I think we can be very happy with today."
In addition to his solid haul of points at Sakhir, Norris also outpaced McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo who finished seventh on his debut with the Woking-based outfit.
Although the Aussie was satisfied overall with his weekend, he claimed to be unimpressed with his race, admitting having struggled for pace over the course of the evening.
"If I look at if I look at his [Norris] race, I didn't didn't have the pace to match," explained Ricciardo.
"As the race went on, it felt more difficult. In simple terms, every time I tried to push then I was basically killing the tire. I couldn't keep that level and still maintain the consistency.
"I quite know from experience that it's only going to get better and my feeling and comfort and performance will keep improving.
"If seventh is bad weekend, I think we're in a really good place."