Although Nico Hulkenberg believes Renault have made a "good step" forward, he reckons it was only his long first stint on the ultras that put him in the points in Russia.
The German started Sunday's Russian Grand Prix eighth on the grid but lost positions at the start.
He recovered to finish eight after putting in 39 laps – the longest of any first stint – on the ultrasoft tyres.
"I just didn't have the pace," he lamented.
"It was only after 20 laps that any grip came and I was able to catch up again on the Force Indias."
It’s time for #PicturePerfect, the #RussianGP edition! Here’s our photographers’ favourite pic from last week’s GP: “The Sochi circuit winds its way around the iconic venues of the 2014 Winter Olympic park. Nico is seen here flying past the ‘Iceberg Sports Palace’ which was used for the figure skating events during the games. By zooming out and including the blue graphics of the buildings walls contrasted with the yellow of the R.S.17, this dynamic shot is created. Composing the car in the bottom corner of the frame and using a very slow shutter speed, combined with a very smooth panning technique ensures the car stays pin-sharp.” Canon 1DX, 70-200mm lens, 1/30th sec @ f22 Sunday 30th April Photographer: @laurent_charniaux
As for that long first stint, he acknowledged: "That was absolutely worth it otherwise we would not have scored.
"It was a really long time with the ultrasoft tyres.
"It was no longer possible to make up any more time. When I got there, the tyres were over. One of the rear tyres had nothing more to it.
"One or two laps, and the lap times would have gone. "
But while Sunday's race was the second points-scoring result in as many races, Hulkenberg concedes there is still work to be done.
"I'm not quite sure yet," he replied when asked if Renault had solved some of their problems. "To some extent.
"We have made a good step in the right direction but there is still a need to improve."
Experience the full coverage of the FIA Formula One season throughout 2017 on FOX Sports Play, where you can watch LIVE races from angles unlike any other, highlights, interviews, behind the scenes and many more. Don’t miss it!