Marcus Ericsson of Sauber believes he is as good as his highly rated new teammate Pascal Wehrlein.
Wehrlein signed up with Sauber at the beginning of 2017 and got 7 points to Ericsson’s two during the qualifying races.
But Ericsson believes he is closer to Wehrlein’s game despite what the numbers say.
Talking to Motorsport, Ericsson said, “I think it’s been some small margins, you know,
“Like in Barcelona, it was a couple of thousands, and in Russia, I was about to go faster than him when he had his spin, so there were yellow flags.
“So, small margins. I think we have been very even. And if you look at the average between me and Pascal over all the qualifying sessions, it’s been really close.
“I think it’s just small things that I need to improve to get a bit more out of the car.”
Out of the nine qualifying rounds the two have raced in, Wehrlein leads Ericsson by 0.114s in Q1.
“He [Wehrlein] is a very good driver,” Ericsson said. “I mean, I knew that before, that he was a very good driver. And I think he has shown that this year, especially in qualifying.
“So he has been really good in putting a good lap together when it matters in qualifying. That’s where he has generally been a bit stronger than me, whereas in the races I think we have been very, very closely matched.
“We had very close fights in the races. But for me, I think compared to him I can improve a bit on my one-lap pace in qualifying, to be a bit better there.”
The Swede believes that after three years with Sauber he is in a “strong position”. The team incidentally has received a lot of investment from Swedish backers.
Since his 2014 Grand Prix debut, Ericsson has been racing at the bottom of Drivers list and admits he wants to get his hands on a faster machine.
“I think I have a strong position in the team. I’ve been here for quite a few years now, so it’s a good environment for me,” he said.
“But I want, as a driver, to be in a more competitive car as soon as possible. And hopefully this year we will continue to make progress and be stronger.
“And then for me, I have no contract for next year, so I’m not sure what’s happening for me in future.”
Ericsson added: “It’s difficult to show what I can do when I’ve been in one of the slowest cars, sort of all throughout my F1 career. It’s difficult to show your potential, to impress the bigger teams with your abilities.
“But all I can do is keep doing the best I can and keep working hard and showing what I can do – and hopefully one day I will be in a team where I can really fight for top positions and wins.”