New Zealand IndyCar standout Scott Dixon has praised the performance of his compatriot Brendon Hartley, following Hartley's Formula 1 debut this week.
In an interview with racer.com, Dixon said Hartley's showing - finishing 13th in the United States Grand Prix - was a proud day for New Zealand.
"It was fantastic, and I think it surprised a lot of people," Dixon told Racer.
"Having known Brendon since he was a young boy, and looking at his junior career and all he achieved, he was pressured a lot from an early age where they had him doing three series at once. So it's good to see he's become a huge talent, and that he isn't really fazed by pressure."
"He did well, and he's been thrown in at the deep end with no testing, and he was up against guys who've got almost a full season of F1 racing behind them."
Hartley was pleased with his overall performance in Austin, which saw him start in 19th but slowly pick off drivers and stay out of trouble to claim 13th place.
"It was tough out there, but it's been an awesome debut Grand Prix," he said. "It's all starting to sink in now and it won't be until I go to bed and put my eyes at rest that I'll start to process everything."
"I'm satisfied with my race - the pace was pretty strong, especially at the end. I think the only small mistake I made was getting overtaken by [Lance] Stroll a quarter into the race, as I couldn't pass him back and he held me up a bit.
"So there's been lots of challenges, lots of things to learn and I hope I get another shot at it to put all these experiences into practice.
Dixon hopes that Hartley's initial foray into F1 can lead to more opportunities for talented drivers in small countries like New Zealand.
"It's hard for smaller countries like ours where we don't have big companies behind young drivers. Hopefully, things like what's happened with Brendon is the start of F1 getting back to hiring the best talent instead of relying on the biggest chequebooks."
"The biggest thing for me is I hope he gets a fair shake in F1," said Dixon.
"He's definitely on good terms, and in the good book of [Red Bull advisor] Helmut Marko, if there is such a thing, and I think it goes a long way, which is why he was called upon.
"They know how good he is, and all he's done in the other categories since he was last with them has obviously seen him grow immensely. I just want Brendon to have a chance to show what he's become."
Hartley's next chance will come at the Mexico Grand Prix, with it being confirmed that the 27-year-old Kiwi will be driving once again for Toro Rosso this weekend.