Esteban Gutierrez admits he needs to raise his game in qualifying.
Sauber’s rookie driver has been out-qualified by team mate Nico Hulkenberg in all six races so far and has been a second slower than him on average.
“I think we lack qualifying speed,” he said during a Q&A session. “That is something we need to improve to start from a better position because if we start at the front and we do what we did last time out we could finish better, but you have to be consistent through the weekend, not only in qualifying or the race.”
Gutierrez is yet to score a point but did hold the lead for two laps during the Spanish Grand Prix. However he admitted afterwards “for some time I did not know I was leading”.
“But it was a great feeling to do the lap times we were doing, and to enjoy the car with clean air ahead.”
He went on to record the fastest lap during the race: “Knowing that today I was the fastest on the track was very special, a step forward and thanks to the team because we really have worked together on the details to adapt the car to my driving style,” he said.
Sauber have so far failed to replicate the promise they showed during 2012. They are concentrating their development on the rear of the car at the moment and recently introduced an upgraded rear wing.
“It made a difference in terms of stability in curves because we had the problem that we had very little room for mistakes and now the new wing has helped us to improve there,” said Gutierrez.
“The downside is that we lost straight speed and now we have to work on that to improve speed and keep stability. That is why it was so difficult to overtake.”