Bruno Senna is confident of replicating his strong qualifying performance at the Hungaroring across the second half of the F1 season.
The Brazilian made it into Q3 for the first time on Saturday before eventually sealing ninth on the grid for Sunday's race. He said such gains were down to solving front-end grip issues and also from racing on tracks he has previous experience on, both of which bode well for the championship's run-in.
"We have cracked one thing, which is the good feeling from the front end of the car," Senna reported. "We have a new front brake duct that is heating the front tires so suddenly I have got the feeling and I think that we had a pretty good experience this weekend with the rhythm of the car.
"Overall, I'm very happy to be where I am in qualifying because it's good progress compared to where I have been. The last two races have been so frustrating because we had decent pace to be further up on the grid and finally we got a normal qualifying session."
Asked whether his previous experience of the Hungaroring was also an advantage, Senna replied: "I think so. I arrived at the track yesterday and when I did my first lap I had much more confidence. The references were much closer to the ideal and then on my second run I was on it.
"It's very different when you miss a session because everybody has the session before me and they have the knowledge of the setup of the car. These things move them forward and I'm just starting. You have a few laps to nail it. If you had more durable tires, it would be less of a loss, but on the Pirelli tires you are in trouble if you don't nail the first lap."
Senna said he was optimistic of maintaining his Hungaroring form, even if he also expects the competition to continually close in what has already been a remarkably tight season.
"It's easy to say yes [to the idea of performing well in the second half of the year] but it's not like everybody else is staying in the same place, everybody else is progressing as well," added the Brazilian. "I don't see the grid becoming any less close than it's been. It's going to get closer and closer and we need to keep pushing to develop the car.
"It's hard to know exactly what is going to happen but we know that with the lower track temperatures that we had yesterday, the car was very strong. We go from here to places where the track temperature is bound to be lower, so let's hope that we can be strong again and be in the top 10 more often."