Paul di Resta says Sahara Force India will seek to 'stay ahead of McLaren' when the F1 season resumes in Shanghai.
The Silverstone-based team enjoyed an encouraging start to the new season with two top eight finishes in Australia, with di Resta and Adrian Sutil again showing strong speed in Malaysia – although a wheel nut issue that forced both into retirement meant they were unable to make the most of the pace in the VJM06.
Di Resta admitted however that there were plenty of positives for the team to have taken from the Sepang race as it now looks ahead to the Chinese Grand Prix, with its focus firmly on building on the promise seen so far in 2013.
"The next two races can't really come quick enough,” he told the Press Association
. "Despite what happened in Malaysia we took very good positives from the weekend through our performance, so I'm looking forward to China and Bahrain.
"I'd like to think we'd have some more knowledge on our car to make it quicker, although China is a different philosophy compared to what we have experienced so far this season. But we had a good car there two years ago, and there is no reason why we can't go there and repeat that.
"As for Bahrain, that is probably one of the strongest grands prix we had last year, and with the climate similar there as to Malaysia with the heat, I'm confident."
The Scot added that staying ahead of McLaren was the aim for the two upcoming races, with the Woking-based outfit seeking to improve on its own difficult start to the year.
"We've proven where we are at the moment, but whether we will be in that position after the next two will be hard," di Resta continued. "I've a lot of respect for what McLaren do. Although they are struggling at the moment, they can develop.
"But we will be pushing to stay in front of them. Our performance so far has been far better than people expected, far better than people could probably overhaul in two weeks."