Pastor Maldonado believes he can score a top five finish for Lotus in the Spanish Grand Prix if things go his way.

The Circuit de Catalunya holds a lot of good memories for Maldonado, who won there for Williams in 2012. In his first year for Lotus he has yet to score a point, but with the team showing an impressive step forward in performance in China, Maldonado believes the potential is there to finish behind the two Mercedes and Red Bull cars in Barcelona.

"I'm expecting to be more competitive," Maldonado said. "It will be very important to start scoring some points, but if everything goes well and we get some luck too then a top five is possible.

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"It is going to be difficult - there are the two Mercedes and two Red Bulls and then others who have shown good pace in recent races like Force India - but if we get 100% from the car we can fight all of the other teams and come away with something good to build on."

With all of the teams set to bring large upgrades to Spain, Maldonado said he is unsure how big a step Lotus can make but is convinced the team will be able to catch the pace-setting teams eventually.

"Clearly we expect the updates to be positive, but it's difficult to say how big the relative improvement will be because everybody will bring updates and nothing stands still in Formula 1. The bottom line is that we must keep improving and pushing.

"We won't get to the end of this season and look back to think we could have done more. Everyone is fighting 100% to get back to the front of the grid. When we get there it will be even sweeter."