Rossi revels in successful grand prix debut

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Alexander Rossi made no secret of his happiness after enjoying a successful grand prix debut in Singapore on Sunday.

Rossi became the first American in eight years to start a Formula 1 race at Marina Bay, ending a drought that dates back to Scott Speed’s final race with Toro Rosso in 2007.

After qualifying down in 20th place for Manor on Saturday, Rossi was disappointed not to have matched Will Stevens’ time, using his more experienced teammate as a benchmark for his debut weekend.

On Sunday though, Rossi turned the tables as he got the jump on Stevens early on before remaining in front, eventually finishing 14 seconds ahead in 14th place despite not having any radio contact with his team in the second half of the race.

“My Formula 1 debut has been a long time coming, but today has been pretty special,” Rossi said. “All the hard work to get here finally paid off and it was a fantastic feeling to be racing on the streets of Singapore in my first ever grand prix.

“It wasn’t the most straightforward of races; I didn’t get the best of starts, and as the procedure is quite new to me, it’s something I’ll need to work on. I recovered quite well though and managed to get a good run into turn five, where I was able to get past my teammate.

“Everything was going well until around the midpoint of the race, when I lost radio communications. This was particularly challenging because of the second safety car period and I wasn’t able to receive instructions from the team about when to unlap myself.

“Despite that, I think we managed everything well and I’m very appreciative of all the effort put in by the team to make my grand prix debut a successful one.”

Rossi’s next race with Manor will come in just one week’s time at Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix.