Pastor Maldonado believes that a top six qualifying result at the Canadian Grand Prix could be the catalyst for his first points of the 2015 F1 season.

The Venezuelan has suffered wretched luck so far this season - and not all of his own making - but was more optimistic after putting his E23 on the third row of the grid in Montreal, even if it was still not performing entirely to his liking due to an aero weakness exiting the corners.

Boosted by the absence of both Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa, who made troubled exits in Q1, Maldonado found himself in a scrap with team-mate Romain Grosjean as well as the remaining Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg before posting a 1m 15.329s lap and securing his best start of the year.

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"To line the car up on the third row is quite positive," he insisted, "We have been quick all weekend, so it's not a consequence of something that happened - and tomorrow is going to be a very interesting race for us. For many reasons, we have been unable to finish races and I hope that, here, we can do our best job. For sure, the whole team is pushing very hard, trying to do our best, so hopefully we can have a good run tomorrow and get some good points."

Despite losing out to Grosjean - something that may have been attributed to both drivers leaving for the final run at exactly the same time and refusing to yield one way or the other until they were on track - Maldonado was confident that he would have the upper hand on Sunday.

"You need to take a compromise between quali and race but, on my side, I've always been looking more about the race because the race is more important," he explained, "For sure, tomorrow we need to see [how we match up] against the others, but we hope to have good pace and a very consistent car.

"We've both been quite quick, although I had the issue through the weekend and, for sure, in practice, I was expecting us to be slightly quicker. I tried my best to catch [Grosjean] but the loss is clearly there and it was nearly impossible but, in the race, it is completely the other way around.

"You need to save fuel, manage tyre degradation and I'm quite good with tyre degradation, as I have showed in the past. My race pace is usually better than his, so I will do my best at the start to gain one or two places on the first lap and then do a good race. I think we will have the pace to compete for something better than sixth [as] I think the track is adapting well to the condition of our car, with long straights and good power. But it is not just about the power as, in the corners, we are quite good and, especially on braking, it is quite stable. In my case, we have been losing all weekend on the exits, but we are quite good. I'm quite happy with the performance - for sure, you always want more, but it's a big step from where we were, fighting just to get into Q3."