Marcus Ericsson accepts he has to 'step up' F1 qualifying pace

Marcus Ericsson says he and Sauber have to work to provide him with more confidence over one-lap, citing rear-end instability as a hurdle to his points prospects.

Ericsson claimed Sauber's first points of the year with ninth in Bahrain and the team has scored points across the past two Grands Prix, with Charles Leclerc racing from 13th to sixth in Azerbaijan, and from 14th to 10th in Spain.

Ericsson, meanwhile, started from 18th and 17th respectively – five and three positions behind his team-mate – and was unable to break into the top 10 on both occasions.

“We could fight with everyone around us,” Ericsson said of his Spanish Grand Prix.

“We just need to qualify better, that’s the big, big problem for me – that I started too far back.

“I need to get a stronger rear end on my car, as I’m a driver that really leans on the rear of the car.

“Especially in Spain with the adjusted Supersofts that were used, it feels like they were a bit more inconsistent and more peaky.

“Then I was struggling more with rear inconsistency and for me I really need that rear stability to feel confident when I drive.

“On heavy fuel and harder compounds it’s been a lot better but on super softs this weekend I was struggling with it.

“So I think that’s the focus for the coming weekends: to have a bit stronger rear end and that will help my performance.

“Then of course [it’s down to] me to do a better job in general on one lap as I need to step up there because in the race no doubt I could have scored points had I started a bit further up, but I need to start a bit further up to do it.”

Leclerc’s point in Spain ensured Sauber has scored in successive races for the first time since 2015 – a statistic that heartened Ericsson, who has been with the team through its lowest moments.

“I think every race this year we’ve taken steps, we’ve made progress every race, we’ve bringing updates every race that improve the car, we’re understanding more about this car,” he said.

“I think it’s very clear that we’re making progress, and every race now we are fighting in the midfield.

“It’s really, really promising, and the plan now looking forward is to bring updates every race and that will hopefully bring us better.

“It’s really fun to be there and fighting and racing again as the last two years we haven’t been there. It’s good, we just need to keep doing a good job.”