Romain Grosjean admits that he feels his F1 season is now getting underway in earnest on the back of his first podium finish of the year in Bahrain.
The Lotus driver endured a difficult start to the campaign before a fine drive at the Sakhir circuit saw him come through the field from eleventh to finish third behind team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Admitting that the top three result had been a boost to his confidence, Grosjean will now hope for a strong run again at Catalunya next weekend and he said he was confident that better times lie ahead.
“It's no secret that before Bahrain my feeling hasn't been right with the car,” he said. “It wasn't the chassis, the aero or anything like that, but we took a while to get everything to my liking and that's been frustrating. We managed to put our finger on the issue and I feel much more comfortable now. I really had a good sensation behind the wheel on Sunday in Bahrain, and a podium position at the end of the race was the result. I could put the car more or less where I wanted which is all you want as a driver. Third place was a deserved reward for everyone after all our hard work.
“We've had consistency already, finishing every race in the points, but now it's the big results we're chasing and getting the car as I want it has been a vital ingredient. Now I have the tools that I want at my disposal I can really push.
"In some ways you can say my season starts now! My podium in Bahrain was a very good start to that challenge. If we keep working the way we have been so far this season as a team I'm sure we can achieve great things.”
Grosjean added that tyre management would play a key role in the Spanish race and said that adapting to the performance of the tyres was proving to a crucial part of the current season.
“Everyone knows Barcelona very well from testing,” he said. “The first four corners, which make up the first sector are pretty fast, then there's the slow final sector with between turns 10-15. Out of turn 15 you need a good rear end of the car with strong traction.
"It's important not to overheat your rear tyres and managing degradation will be important – even with the harder tyres which are now allocated – as when you reach high degradation levels on your tyres you are nowhere on lap time. Tyre management will still be the key area for a good performance in the race.
“Tyre management has always been part of the qualifying and race strategy. I don't know about others, I just know that I always push as much as I can to obtain the best result possible. Of course, if you drive a certain way or adapt yourself you can get more out of the tyres than if you don't, but that's just part of being a racing driver; you always have to adapt to extract maximum performance.”