Pierre Gasly has insisted that his relatively low position during Friday’s practice for Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix is not representative of his pure pace.
Gasly has endured a difficult start to his Red Bull career since stepping up from Toro Rosso as the replacement for Renault-bound Daniel Ricciardo.
A communication mix-up in Australia left Gasly out in Q1, from where he struggled to 11th, while in Bahrain he mustered only eighth after weekend-long difficulties with the RB15.
Gasly was again in the midfield during practice in China, finishing at the foot of the top 10, nine-tenths adrift of third-placed Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, but moved to play down his position.
"I always want more, but I’m quite happy with the programme today,” said Gasly.
"I think we have a good direction and Max showed that the car has good potential.
"We tested a lot of things between FP1 and FP2, we were pushing the development as much as we could, so now we need to analyse every part we used today.
"In FP2 I had quite a big moment in the third sector on the fastest lap and lost a bit of time, so it’s actually not really representative for the potential of the car.
"I think we need to focus on tomorrow now and improve my set-up."
Verstappen classified third despite a mistake through the final corner on his quickest lap and reckons Red Bull has addressed the set-up issue that affected its potential in Bahrain.
"We have a good balance in the car and not too many issues, so I’m pretty happy," he said.
"Of course there was a question mark coming here after Bahrain but we were all quite confident that if we could solve the issue we would be a lot closer, which I think we have shown today."