Paul di Resta said he would "take the positives" from Force India's Italian Grand Prix weekend and not rue the team's downturn in performance from qualifying to the race.
Di Resta was one of the stars of the first half of the event as he flew in practice and then set the fourth-fastest time in qualifying - although that only translated to ninth on the grid because of a gearbox-change penalty.
But Sunday proved disappointing, as he could only manage an eighth-place finish.
"Coming into this weekend I probably would have settled for eighth place, but when you consider the pace we showed in qualifying yesterday, we certainly had high hopes for the race," he admitted.
"I struggled at the start with the heavy fuel load and didn't really have the race pace on the medium tyres.
"Things improved after my stop when I was running the hard compound and our pace was much stronger towards the end of the race. But there was no way I could keep the Mercedes behind me and with their two-stop strategy they had a bit more speed than us."
"It's good to extend our lead over Williams with a few more points, but obviously Sauber look strong and outperformed a lot of people," said di Resta.
"We will take the positives from the weekend, analyse things and try and improve our race pace in time for Singapore."
Di Resta's team-mate Nico Hulkenberg retired with brake problems.