Jaime Alguersuari says he is becoming a better and better driver as Toro Rosso's form improves in the latter part of the 2011 Formula 1 season.
Seventh-place finishes for Alguersuari in Italy and Korea have helped STR close to within three points of seventh-placed Sauber in the constructors' championship. Earlier in the season the Spaniard had struggled in qualifying, getting eliminated in Q1 in four straight races, although he salvaged points finishes on race day at three of those events.
Alguersuari believes he is still making up for his hurried arrival in Formula 1, having been parachuted straight into a Toro Rosso race seat in mid-2009 without testing when the team decided to drop Sebastien Bourdais.
"I don't think it is related to qualifying, I think as a driver, especially on my side, you always learn something because I was driving F1 when I was 19, so there is always something to show and something to develop," he said. "I still have a lot of things to learn. This year we had a lot of potential in the race, and less in qualifying, due to the tires.
"We are solving these problems now because we have been working a lot on the car and we do have more downforce than we had in the past, so it is easier to work on the car. But it is still difficult between qualifying and the race. I always say this: When you have a more competitive car, life becomes easier, driving and overtaking, and now we can show [our potential]."
Both Toro Rossos finished in the points in Korea despite having struggled at Suzuka, and Alguersuari put this down to the team getting to grips with its latest upgrade package more effectively at Yeongam.
"The car was the same as Suzuka, we just did a better job of understanding all the upgrades that we brought in Suzuka," he said. "In Suzuka we did not do a good job on that. So I was happy with that, happy with the progress of the team, and we really deserved the result – especially because the mechanics have been working so hard to get the best out of the car. So I am really happy."
The Spaniard now expects to be fighting for points in all three remaining races.
"The top 10 is our place and this is what we will target until the end of the year – and to stay in front of Sauber, if possible," Alguersuari said.