Alexander Albon believes Toro Rosso should have reached Q3 at all three races of the 2019 season so far, saying the team has not been “as bad as the table suggests” in the early part of the year.

Toro Rosso has scored points in all three races so far this season, but sits second from bottom in the constructors’ championship after only recording a best race finish of ninth.

Neither Albon nor teammate Daniil Kvyat have managed to qualify inside the top 10 so far this season, but the Anglo-Thai racer is confident Toro Rosso can make strides forward once it gets on top of its Saturday struggles.

“I think at the minute we look middle of the mid-pack. That’s the best way to say it,” Albon said on Thursday in Baku ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“I think Haas looks very strong on the short-run pace, but as we’ve seen so far, their race pace isn’t as strong as their qualifying pace. But on our side I think it’s just trying to fine-tune and get rid of the little mistakes, either driver-related or if we can even set-up, just get everything hooked up a little bit better I think.

“That’s three races we have done now. We should’ve been in Q3 three times. I think everyone can say that probably in the midfield, but I do think we really should’ve been in Q3 three times.

“Of course when you’re in the front half of the field, it makes the races a lot easier. We’ve scored three points in three races.

“Looking at the championship position, we look quite low down, but I think we aren’t as bad as the table suggests. We’ve been consistent through the first three races.

“We just need to qualify a little bit higher.”

Asked about Albon’s comments, Kvyat agreed that Toro Rosso had work to do on its qualifying pace, but was confident that it can regularly fight for a top-10 starting position once its issues are resolved.

“In China, I came 0.022s off [Q3], it was very close,” Kvyat said. “Bahrain I don’t know because I didn’t do the last run. Australia, probably yeah, it could have been [in Q3] too.

“On Saturdays, maybe we still have a bit to work on, a bit of potential to unlock. We know it. But on Sundays, we don't have many question marks, to be honest.

“Saturday in China probably was the best one so far. And it’s good because every time we understand more and more on Saturday what can be better.

“I think once we make it click, we will be consistent contenders. But like I said, China was already a very good step.”

Additional reporting by Julianne Cerasoli.

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