Marcus Ericsson felt the opening six laps of the Australian Grand Prix were his best laps in Formula 1 for the past two seasons, thanks to his Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team C37-Ferrari being far more competitive than its predecessors.
The Swede, who last scored a point in Formula 1 back in the 2015 Italian Grand Prix, was involved in battles with Williams Martini Racing in Australia, which after the past two seasons of running at the back of the field, was a great feeling for the twenty-seven-year-old.
Ericsson may have suffered hydraulic issues to curtail his afternoon early around the Albert Park circuit, but the fact he was fighting, battling with rivals gives him hope that Sauber can elevate themselves off the bottom of the Championship standings this season.
“Probably the best six laps of the past two years!” said Ericsson on the official Formula 1 website. “I was fighting, I was racing, I was faster than the Williams…
“I had a good start, I was attacking cars around me and it has been a while since we have been in that sort of position so that was lots of fun and very promising
“It’s just a shame that it ended so quickly. It’s definitely [frustrating], but that’s how it goes sometimes, there’s not much we can do. But it was a promising few laps.”
Ericsson even feels Sauber could have progressed through to the second phase of qualifying in Australia but for another driver hampering his best lap, but all in all, he acknowledges progress has certainly be made.
“We worked hard overnight after Friday,” said Ericsson. “We were really frustrated and disappointed where we were on Friday and both here at the track and back at the factory they worked really hard to try and understand and analyze why.
“We made some changes on the car – quite a few changes – to turn the car around a bit and it really helped a lot for our performance. It was a different car almost to drive on Saturday. Straight way in FP3 in the changeable conditions we were straight away a lot more competitive than on Friday, and then that followed up in qualifying.
“In qualifying I think without [Pierre] Gasly as traffic in the middle sector we would have been in Q2, so I think we really had a good car over the rest of the weekend which is very promising going forward into the next few races.”