Toro Rosso now understands how to get the best of its car and can be a regular Formula 1 points scorer again, reckons Daniel Ricciardo.
The Italian team had an encouraging Spanish Grand Prix weekend, with both Ricciardo and teammate Jean-Eric Vergne coming close to Q3, and the Australian taking a point for 10th in the race.
Ricciardo had previously made a breakthrough with seventh place in China, only for Toro Rosso to be left baffled when the best it could manage a week later in Bahrain was 16th. Upgrades introduced in Spain have left Ricciardo more confident that the team will not stumble again, especially as Toro Rosso does not regard Barcelona as its strongest track.
"China was obviously a really good weekend for us, but the consistency of the car feels like it has improved," he said. "We brought some updates, and it's helped us out. There's definitely still more to find, but I think it's been a good step.
"[Barcelona has] never been a strong circuit for the team, so if we can be quick there, we can be quicker at other places."
Ricciardo said the Bahrain slump now appeared to be a consequence of a setup miscue.
"Unfortunately it was something we didn't pick up early enough in Bahrain so we had to suffer on the Sunday afternoon," he said. "The updates and the parts we've got on the car now do need different setups and approaches.
"We've understood now and I think we can make it work better. It was painful to not understand it a couple of weeks ago [in Bahrain]."