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Malaysian battle earns Alguersuari first F1 points

SEPANG, Malaysia (Reuters) - Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari used the experience of battling with seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher in Melbourne last week to secure his first points at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Toro Rosso Formula One driver Jaime Alguersuari of Spain sits in his car during the second practice session at the Sepang F1 circuit outside Kuala Lumpur April 2, 2010. The Malaysian F1 Grand Prix will take place on Sunday. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

The 20-year-old marked his first Formula One race at the Sepang circuit with ninth place and two points for his team, their first of the season.

“I am very happy to have scored points today and I have to say I have never expected to do it so early in the season,” Alguersuari told reporters.

“It is very satisfying and I feel a lot more confident now going into upcoming races.”

The Spaniard became the youngest driver in Formula One last year when he competed at the Hungarian Grand Prix aged 19 years 125 days.

However, his entry was greeted with scepticism. Alguersuari was accused of not having enough experience to be thrust into an F1 car having completed only two straight line tests but having earned his first points he has put those doubters firmly in their place.

“Step by step I have improved my performance,” he said. “This weekend was very tough because I didnt know the track. I enjoyed the race, especially the fights I had with some of the others.

“I think I learned a bit about the art of fighting with Michael (Schumacher) last weekend in Melbourne.”

That experience came in handy as the Spaniard, who started the race at a dry Sepang circuit in 14th, fought with his team mate Sebastien Buemi (11th) and the Williams duo of Rubens Barrichello (12th) and Nico Huelkenberg (10th) to earn his record finish.

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said: “Well done to Alguersuari for the first two points of his F1 career. Jaime continues to improve each weekend. He got a good start and then drove a fantastic race.”

Reporting by Patrick Johnston; Editing by John Mehaffey; To query or comment on this story email