Romain Grosjean says it is becoming apparent that Lotus is "miles off" where it wants to be with its 2014 car.

Issues with the Renault power unit and a lack of running has so far masked the potential of the E22, with Grosjean having been encouraged by the pace when completing the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend. However, during Friday practice in Bahrain the car looked off the pace despite relatively trouble-free running and when asked by Crash.net if he was disappointed with the performance after the Sepang showing Grosjean admitted it had been a reality check.

"Sunday was a good race and it was working better than it is now," Grosjean said. "For some reason we struggle here, but we did already struggle in winter testing; the few laps we could do we were slow. Even though we had power and energy issues we were quite slow and today we were slow. I don't know if it's track related or something we don't get perfectly here."

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Pushed on whether the car was less competitive than expected or whether the track characteristics were central to the pace, Grosjean admitted Lotus has a lot of work to do.

"Firstly it is a bit track specific and then yes it is not exactly where we wanted it to be. But it's our first proper day of running and the baseline set-up is far from ideal, that's quite clear. We need to understand why we don't get the downforce that we would like to have.

"We need more time like this; we need to understand why in the windtunnel the car looks good but then on track it's not as good as we hoped. Of course Mercedes has a bit of an advantage but even so we are miles off where we want to be."

Grosjean did find one positive in terms of the mileage completed on Friday, and he hopes Lotus can find a way to get closer to the midfield during FP3 and qualifying.

"At least we had no major issues and we could run the car. We just had a little bit of a problem in FP2 before the long run with the turbo and we had to change the wastegate and it took a little bit of time, so I lost a bit of running time. But generally we could do a full day.

"It wasn't an easy day with starting in the day with very high track temperatures and going to night when the track temperature dropped. The Pirelli tyres are quite sensitive to that so it was hard to find the right balance, but the performance was not there today.

"We have seen that we have quite a sensitive car to wind conditions and we are not yet in the best region for aerodynamics with our baseline set-up, so the engineers are looking in to it and trying to find the way that we can operate in the best zone for us."