“I’m happy here and I get along with everyone.
“It’s great that as a driver who’s only in his second year, I have such a big influence on the development and set-up of the car. I grow together with the team.
“I think we can drive further up the front.
“We won’t see how good we really are and whether it’s enough for the top third, for example, until the first race weekend in Bahrain.
“If we have the car that we think we’ve been developing over the past few months, it looks promising. We worked hard and exchanged ideas almost continuously. Now and then I gave the team a few days off from me. But there weren’t too many. We want to attack everyone.
“If the car works the way we want it to, we can deliver. The problem is: Only at the first race in Bahrain will all the teams put their cards on the table. All lap times and impressions from the previous tests are secondary.
“Of course, last season was difficult because of the car, but there were also positive things, like the duel with Max [Verstappen] at the race in Hungary.
“We knew that it would not be a year in which we could have high hopes of success. On average I finished 16th. For what we had available it was decent. So there were no doubts. I always knew: It’s about learning – and I have.
“My knowledge of tyres is a little bit better thanks to Formula 2. We already drove with the 18-inch rims. That year I was able to win the championship. So it worked really well back then. But the other drivers will catch up quickly.
“Everyone [in the team] is highly motivated. It is important to keep this atmosphere alive with good results. But you always have to set your goals a little higher than they are realistic. That’s how you stay hungry.
“So far I haven’t set any for this season. We’ll have to wait and see how quickly I get used to the car. After the second tests I should have a pretty clear idea of what’s in store for this season.”