After Williams' return to some sort of form in 2012, Valtteri Bottas' elevation to the race team appeared to be coming at the just the right time. However, it hasn't quite worked out that way for the young Finn this year.
Replacing Bruno Senna alongside Pastor Maldonado, Bottas has yet to open his F1 account, but Williams' problems are underlined by the fact that, after four races, it remains the only team other than Marussia and Caterham not to have broken into the top ten anywhere.
Bottas came close to recording his first points in Malaysia, where he finished eleventh overall on only his second appearance for the Grove team, but has generally been a couple of places further back than that, despite posting a 100 per cent finishing record in the 'flyaway' rounds.
“It's not been a start we wanted, that's for sure, but I think, all the time, we understand more and more [about] the problems we've had,” he insisted, “It's just some of the paths in the development of the car we took in the winter proved to be a bit of a dead end. [Now] we understand it much better. We had a good aero test last week and I really feel we are on the right path now.
With Maldonado also not bettering eleventh place, and both drivers having out-performed the other twice in qualifying, Bottas has little to be embarrassed about, but he insists that there is still much to learn about being an F1 driver.
“I think, from my side, it's not been a bad start,” he confirmed, “It's still my first season racing F1 and there's a lot to learn. It's been quite a smooth start [but], of course, there's always things you could do better and I'm willing to improve a lot during the next few races and during the whole season.
“F1 racing is something different to anything I've ever experienced before. The longest races I did before was F3 in 30 minutes or something - now it's one hour 30 minutes minimum, so it's a different style of driving, different style of adjusting the car's set-up and you really need to focus throughout the weekend to maximise the car both for qualifying and for the race to find a compromise.
“There's so much more other technical stuff; you can adjust the car and you need to be very focused on every single little detail if you want to improve your driving and make the car better. I've really learned a lot; I can't say just one thing but I'm sure I will be learning more and more all the time and at every race I feel I'm getting better and better.”