As he continues to settle in at his new home, Daniel Ricciardo admits to leaving Spain "happier", though there is still more to find in himself and his car.
A barnstorming start saw him discard Esteban Ocon and Carlos Sainz almost in one go, the McLaren driver claiming fifth, a position he held for much of the race until - his tyres gone - he pitted moments after losing the position to Sergio Perez on Lap 45, finally crossing the line in sixth, 10s behind the Mexican.
"I had some good problems in terms of the start was good, and that got me in front of a couple of faster cars and therefore that meant I then had to defend pretty much the whole race," Ricciardo told reporters at the end of the race.
"With Checo I was doing as much as I could for as long as I could," he continued, "but he got me and then I had Carlos for the last kind of quarter of the race or so.
"We didn't have the pace today," he admitted, "but it was nice to at least hold off a faster car and just put a better weekend together.
"So personally, I'm happier, but we still have obviously something to find in the car and in myself but it was a smoother weekend and definitely the best one of the year so far.
"We know we've still got some work to do but all-in-all it was a smooth, well-executed weekend. The team made some good calls for the pit-stops and I think top-six was the best result possible."
The Australian's "best one of the year" came on a day teammate, Lando Norris struggled, the Briton, who had qualified behind Ricciardo, finishing eighth, a lap down on the winner.
Looking ahead to Monaco, of which he has bittersweet memories, he said: "I'm excited to go there... it's been two years.
"It's a track that you don't get the privilege of driving, first of all," he added, "and to miss it for a year, I just can't wait to go there.
"And then we'll figure it out after that, and it will just be a joy and a pleasure to turn a wheel around there again."