Pascal Wehrlein hailed the progress made by Manor after he was able to sustain a race-long fight in the midfield and collect 13th place at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Wehrlein qualified in 16th position and moved forwards at the start, briefly running as high as seventh through the pit stop phase, and finished ahead of both Force India drivers and Sauber's Felipe Nasr.
"It was a great race for me," he said. "I can’t even compare it to the one in Melbourne because it felt like a completely different race.
"The car was better, the way we could manage the tyres was better - everything was just a big improvement.
"It was quite chaotic to begin with but that happens in the midfield so I’m not going to complain. My start was good and I managed to avoid any contact, then the rest of the first stint was really good fun."
Wehrlein revealed that worsening tyre degradation prevented him from passing Sauber's Marcus Ericsson during the closing stages.
"It would have been good to take the second Sauber at the end but I had started to lose the tyres by then," he said.
"We still experienced some tyre degradation, which is why we switched to a three-stop strategy, but it was much better than the last race and another good sign for us."