Nick Heidfeld says that his main focus with the Renault team is on improving qualifying performances as the team heads to Canada this weekend for the latest round of the season.
Heidfeld has scored points in four of the six races run so far this season but has only started inside the top ten on two occasions.
In the four races where he has started outside the top ten, the German has a best starting position of only 15th and he admitted that he is working hard to improve his qualifying performances in order to challenge for more points for the team.
“This is actually the area I focus on the most with the team, with the aim of maximising our potential there,” he said. “If you look at my race performances, I think it is as good as it can be, and that's really helped us get the points we have this season.
“However, in Monaco especially, you cannot capitalise on the race pace if the qualifying is not at a high enough level. We know that qualifying is extremely important at all the F1 circuits.”
Admitting that the result in Monaco hadn't been what he hoped for, Heidfeld said he was keen to try and score well in Canada to maintain his top six championship position.
“We went to Monaco expecting more from the weekend,” he said. “We were predicting a better performance and more points all around - we thought we would be quite strong there. I do feel, however, that we have come away from that weekend having learnt a lot more about the car, which is positive, and I'm sure we can take that knowledge into Canada and the races beyond in order to bring our performance up to a higher level.
“I'm now ahead of Nico (Rosberg) and Felipe (Massa), so it is a motivation for me to keep striving to do well and scoring points to stay ahead. I am quite a way off Fernando (Alonso) in fifth position still, however the season is long and my target is to move further forward.
“What's more important, though, is that we continue to understand and develop the car so that our performance improves as a team. Once this happens, the chance of securing big points will become more and more likely.”