Pedro de la Rosa thinks he is now driving better than he has ever done in his career, after insisting that three seasons out from F1 have not hurt his racing instincts.
The Spaniard joined Michael Schumacher in returning to race action at the start of this season after three years on the sidelines. Having scored his first points of the season in the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier this month, de la Rosa is delighted with how his progress is developing.
When asked by AUTOSPORT why he believes his comeback is clicking into place while Schumacher is facing more difficulties, de la Rosa said: "I don't know, but I feel better and better with every race.
"After Silverstone [where he retired], for me it was very tough to accept what happened there, because we were so competitive. But in Hungary we got back in Q3 and we got points for the team. I think I am driving better every race to be honest. I don't know about other drivers – but I am getting to an extremely good level now."
De la Rosa thinks that his Sauber team's early season troubles are now well and truly behind it, and thinks the outfit can set its sights high on all types of tracks from now on, not just the quick, smooth ones.
"All the changes we have introduced since Valencia have been targeting slow speed corners, and that is why it was interesting to see how we would perform in Hungary," he said. "It was always going to give us an indication of whether the changes were in the right direction or not. With no testing now it is so difficult, but definitely we have been making the right changes to the car – and we can say we are competitive not only on ultra high-speed circuits like Silverstone.
"High speed corners for us were never a problem. The biggest issue was always low-speed – and Hungary was very slow, like Monaco."
De la Rosa has also once again praised the input of new technical director James Key, who joined the Swiss-based operation earlier this year.
"James Key has made a big difference to the team and he has made a great contribution for a step forward," he said. "I am grateful to him."