Sergio Perez admits that his Force India team should be doing "a lot better" than it is currently, after a difficult start to its 2016 campaign.
In the two races, Perez has yet to score a point, while teammate Nico Hulkenberg’s seventh place in Australia means Force India sits seventh in the constructors' standings with six points.
Notably, the Silverstone-based team has been outscored by new entrant Haas in both races so far, while Toro Rosso gained the upper hand in Bahrain.
“We finished last year on a high. Although we shouldn’t be in this position, I believe we have been really unlucky from the start,” said Perez ahead of the Chinese GP.
“In Melbourne, having had a great qualifying being ninth with free tyre choice, things were really looking good, but then I had a problem with the start, that put me in a bad position.
“But still we managed to get into points with both cars before the red flag [where we lost out], so that means less points for the team,” he added.
“In Bahrain we were just unlucky, I agree that we are probably not at the level that we were expecting at the start of the year.
“I don’t think we are at the level, we are right now. We should be a lot better than where we are standing at the moment.”
Perez, however, remains upbeat about Force India's forthcoming upgrades, which he compared to last year's B-spec car that had transformed the squad's fortunes in 2015.
“We are really optimistic about the upgrade, we are focussing and putting lot of effort into that, so I hope that it can bring an extra step on us,” he said.
The Force India driver also played down Toro Rosso’s advancements this season: “I agree Toro Rosso have done a very good job.
“I wouldn’t say better than us or better than anyone, we have seen in the past it is not so important how you start.
“The seasons in F1 are far too long so we have plenty of way to go, we’ll see how we end up.”
Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble