Sauber has so far struggled to match its pre-season testing form at race weekends, but veteran driver Pedro de la Rosa believes the team is making good progress.
AUTOSPORT caught up with him as he prepared for the Australian GP.
Q. Were you expecting more from this weekend?
Pedro de la Rosa: We were expecting a little bit more, yes. But this is where we are. We need to keep working hard to improve to get into Q3. That is the reality. We have a good team behind us, and we know our weaknesses and we are working on them.
Q. You looked so much better in winter testing, but it hasn't followed through into the races. Do you have an explanation for what happened?
PDR: It is always winter testing that is very different, in terms of fuel load. And we under-estimated how much fuel other people were running. That is how it is, and also we don't have to under-estimate how much in the last month other people have improved their cars. They have developed massively. There is no magic in the sport and the reality is that other people have made big steps in the last few weeks from the Barcelona test onwards. We were a little over-optimistic.
But we don't have to panic. We are here. We are not that far from Q3 and if we make a couple of steps forward we can fight for Q3, which we said originally was our main objective.
Q. How do you judge your working relationship with Sauber?
PDR: I'm very positive. I have been very impressed with the team, they are very professional and how they push is impressive, although we still have a lot of work to do. We are a small team but very agile. I just really wish they can get some points, as the people deserve it. We have worked very hard. I am very happy here.