Pastor Maldonado says Lotus feels like it is lacking "the tools to defend" when it gets in to strong positions in races this season.

While Maldonado himself has yet to qualify in the top ten, team-mate Romain Grosjean has started from as high as fifth on the grid but only boasts a best finish of eighth place. Speaking during an exclusive interview with Crash.net, Maldonado said any potential the car has is being masked by constant issues which have to be managed.

"We feel that we do not have all the tools to defend when we are fighting on the track," Maldonado said. "But behind this we are working very hard - believe me - in the factory, simulator, engineers, all the new projects for the short, medium and long-term, and hopefully from now until the end of the season we can be slightly more competitive. Slightly more competitive means being consistently in the top ten and scoring some points."

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Expanding on where he feels Lotus is lacking, Maldonado pointed to the Renault power unit and said Lotus needs "100%" from the engine to be able to focus on other things within its control.

"Now we need to recover the time that we lost. I think it's possible; there are many races to go so let's do our best, do what we know we can do. They are very professional at building the cars and designing the cars, so let's get 100% from Renault even if we know that it's not the most powerful engine but Red Bull can do very well with this engine as well.

"I was not part of the team last year but the team has been fighting closely with Red Bull in the past and maybe they were the only ones to get close to Red Bull in the past season. Hopefully we can get better, we'll see."

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But not the sharpest in the box