Felipe Nasr says he is content with the way his first season of F1 is going, even if he started on a high and has had to contend with fluctuating fortunes since then.

The Brazilian, who was drafted into Sauber's line-up after finishing as runner-up in last year's GP2 Series, began his career with a bang, taking an unexpected fifth place in the Australian Grand Prix, but has since seen his results oscillate wildly since then, with a bang of another sort - crashing during a troubled Montreal weekend - marking the lowest point of the ten races so far.

"Looking back, we have achieved most of the goals we had for the first half of the season," the rookie insisted, "We maximised our opportunities, especially in the beginning of the season, and we were able to score important points. Now, we are halfway through the season, and I think we are going in the right direction. As a driver, I am learning something new every weekend and, as a team, we have done some good things, but it is my first year as a race driver in F1 - with ups and downs."

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Melbourne - despite the off-track wrangling over Sauber's driver line-up - is an obvious highlight for Nasr, who could not have hoped for a better start in the top flight.

"The result of the Australian Grand Prix was impressive - finishing fifth was very special for me, as well as for the team," he conceded, "During this race I remember having a good drive and holding off Daniel [Ricciardo] - he put a lot of pressure on me, but I managed to keep it under control.

"Another highlight was in Monaco, as our car was difficult to drive there, and I was pushing a lot to drive at the ultimate limit. In the end, I finished the race in P9."

From the high of Monaco, however, Nasr came crashing down - literally - as F1 decamped to Montreal...

"That was my low point," he confessed. "I faced issues with the brakes during the whole weekend and, on top of that, I made a mistake in FP3 as I accidently opened the DRS while warming up the tyres. I learn from these things."

With a tight budget, Sauber has clearly dropped away from rivals able to throw money at updating their cars, but Nasr - who has already signed up for a second season in Hinwil - accepts that that is all part of his learning curve.

"We know that our car is limited in some areas but, in order to compensate for that, we try different things, for example on the set-up side," he explained, "We go in different directions, trying a softer or stiffer car set-up. The car has a narrow window for its working range in order to extract the best performance out of it, but I am always open to trying different things which help me to understand the car in a better way. This is something from which I learn a lot."