Adrian Sutil says he feels that Honda are now the closest team to Force India on the Formula One grid heading into the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Aside from Super Aguri who withdrew from the sport after the Spanish Grand Prix, Force India remain the only team yet to score this season, although Sutil himself was well placed for a superb result in Monaco back in May before he was taken out of the race following contact from Kimi Raikkonen.
The introduction of the new seamless shift gearbox in Valencia has seen the Silverstone-based squad make steps to close the gap to the rest of the field, with Giancarlo Fisichella having outqualified Rubens Barrichello in the European Grand Prix and Sutil having got ahead of Kazuki Nakajima in qualifying last time out at Spa.
Both drivers also enjoyed solid performances in the two races, with Sutil taking his best result of the year to date with 13th place last weekend in Belgium, and the German said his confidence had been boosted by the Spa event.
"I'm feeling very positive about Monza now following the result in Belgium," he said. "We worked hard throughout the weekend, first having some strong practice performances and then a good qualifying. For sure it's disappointing when you do what you think is a good lap and then you're only P18, but then again if you've done the best you can and there's been no mistakes, you have to accept it and do what you can in the race.
"We certainly did as well as we could have done on Sunday and I was happy with the performance. We had a good set up that allowed me to get past people on the straights, and I could really move through the field and had a great fight with Button.
"I think Honda are our closest rivals now, and I think this will be the case in Italy. We had a good test there last week and I think we have a good baseline set-up, we just need to work hard as we have done before and then take advantage of any chances that come our way."