Lotus F1 pilot Pastor Maldonado has said he will be targeting a top-ten finish in China next weekend, and in the following few races.
“The target is to score points and I think that it is possible to make steps forwards, especially in qualifying,” he confirmed ahead of the fourth round in the 2014 F1 World Championship, even though he will go into the Shanghai event with a five-place grid penalty as a result of that clash with Esteban Gutierrez
“The race pace is not bad,” Maldonado added, “but we need to start higher on the grid. If we start in the top ten it will be easier for us to fight for good points.”
Lotus' woes meanwhile continued in testing this week in Bahrain, with Maldonado managing just 16 laps on day 1. Similarly, team-mate Romain Grosjean also had issues and he too only did 16 laps the following day.
“Testing was not so great,” Maldonado continued. “Power unit issues meant that we weren't able to run the programme that we had set out to complete. This was frustrating; however we did achieve some of the aerodynamic assessment work that we wanted to achieve.”
Despite that, however, Maldonado maintains that his finish in Bahrain - 14th place - was a boost: “Having finished the race in Bahrian, we have more experience and data to work with so we are better placed for a more progressive approach to the race weekend [now],” he explained.
“The car felt much better in the race [in Sakhir] than during qualifying,” he added. “The pace was quite good, the tyre management and the strategy was also promising. We were able to make up some positions and we were also consistent throughout. We still need to push harder in order to be in the top ten but I know that the team is committed to getting there as soon as possible.”
“I also think that the collaborative work with Renault Sport F1 is helping us make steps forward,” he continued. “The E22 is improving, and race reliability was the first step in this process.
"Now we need to focus on performance. I think that the potential is there, we just need to focus and continue to push hard,” he reiterated.