Paul di Resta believes Force India can repeat its strong performance from last year's Bahrain Grand Prix in this year's race.
Di Resta and team-mate Adrian Sutil have already scored the team's best grid result of the campaign, with fifth and sixth at Sakhir – and Force India's strong long-run pace means hopes are high for the race. But di Resta thinks the key to delivering on that potential is Force India being allowed to run at its own pace in the race, and not having its chances compromised by getting stuck behind slower cars.
"We finished sixth here last year in the race, so we are hopeful that the long-run performance means we can be strong enough to fight for that this time," he said. "If we can get good track position – to keep ourselves out of it [traffic] like we did in stint three in China and push the others on a bit - then that will be great.
"The key thing is what happens between the start and Turn 4. If we can finish fifth, anywhere around fifth, that would be a job well done. That is all we are aiming to do at the moment."
When asked if a podium finish was even possible, di Resta said: "I am not going to say never, but all I can say is that our performance in the race in Malaysia was pretty strong.
"We can certainly hope that where we have qualified is where we can race, because in Malaysia the speed from Saturday carried over to Sunday, before we were stopped with the wheel nut issue."
Di Resta added that one of the main things he wanted to understand was why he and Sutil had not made as much improvement in Q3 as other drivers.
"We are miffed about why we did not improve in Q3 as much as the others did, because we got to Q3 in the same state as [Nico] Rosberg and [Fernando] Alonso – we were as quick as them," he said.
"Although we were thrown a bit of a dummy with a set of pressures that affected the last set, which compromised a bit of speed."
Force India's best race result of the season so far came in Australia, where Sutil finished seventh and di Resta was one place further back.