Bruno Senna says he is more confident of being able to cement his place in the F1 fraternity - and with the Williams team - beyond 2012 after adding a sixth points finish of the season in Hungary last weekend.
The Brazilian has been a more consistent feature in the top ten than vaunted team-mate Pastor Maldonado, but the Venezuelan remains ahead in the standings as one of his two scoring finishes saw him take an unexpected victory in Spain. Senna's seventh place in Budapest also wasn't his best result of the year, having previously established his own personal best with sixth place in Malaysia, but he insists that he expects to be able to post more consistent finishes after Williams introduced its latest upgrade ahead of the summer break.
"The only reason why we scored good points in Hungary is because we qualified well, and we need to keep on doing it," the Brazilian, who started ninth in Hungary, was quoted by AFP
, "Everybody needs opportunities to grow up and this is mine. I need an opportunity to grow up and develop with the team."
Senna was particularly pleased to again feature in the top ten, and move up to 15th in the overall standings, after his Budapest result, admitting that the closeness of the field made it tougher to be consistent. The Brazilian has 24 points to his name in 2012, but is less than ten points off the top ten and in a tightly-packed group that also includes Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Force India's Paul di Resta and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, as well as team-mate Maldonado.
"It's probably the hardest season in F1 for who knows how many years - with a tenth of a second you can be five or six positions up," he noted, referring to the margins between success and failure in qualifying, "In the races, I think I'm doing pretty well this season [but], as I said before, nailing qualifying will be the key to make sure I stay for next year and, hopefully, the next few years."
Despite being preferred to veteran Rubens Barrichello ahead of the 2012 season, Senna's position at Williams has been under question almost since the start of the campaign, with Finnish reserve driver Valtteri Bottas taking his car for the majority of Friday morning practice sessions. The reigning GP3 Series champion has made no secret of his desire to be racing in the top flight next season, and could be aided by both his financial backing and the support of new Williams executive director Toto Wolff.
Senna, however, insists that he is not concerning himself with possibilities, preferring instead to concentrate on what happens on track.
"You need to keep pushing and improving," he explained, "We know the team has potential. We know the direction to push the car for the next few races. There's a clear development path. It's just great to have a car that's a top ten finisher pretty much every race and every time you don't finish in the top ten is mostly because of something else happened.
"If I had come out of the [Budapest] weekend with a bad result or with poor pace, you come into the break with something in the back of your mind. I have nothing to worry about now. I think we had a strong performance overall, and I'm learning, I'm improving and it's going to be a case of chipping away. In the second half of the season, I'll have much more experience and everything helps."