Esteban Gutierrez has revealed how he has struggled for form in his first season in F1 - admitting adjusting to life in the sport had an effect.
The young Mexican made the move up to Sauber for 2013 and after a year of disappointing results finally scored his first points in Formula One with a seventh place finish at last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.
Major questions over the 22-year-old's future have been asked in previous weeks but finally breaking into the top 10 in a race gave his confidence and his chances a major boost.
"Coming up in Formula One is not easy, you have to go step by step," Gutierrez told the French magazine Auto Hebdo.
"I made some mistakes early in the season, like all rookies, but then it was a matter of putting in place all the pieces of the puzzle.
"The team knows how hard I've worked, and am still working, to get everything in place to grow as a grand prix driver, and to grow with the team."
Gutierrez admitted adjusting to the fame that comes with an F1 drive was one of the hardest things to cope with.
"Many things changed for me," he said.
"We have a big family in Mexico, and the life of each member, not only mine, was affected radically, and in a really fast way.
"Inevitably, this has created tensions.
"This is not something I've ever mentioned or shown in the media, but it was unavoidable - and it has an impact," added Gutierrez.
As for his future beyond 2013, he admitted the decision is "not in my hands".
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