Sebastian Vettel believes Aston Martin has failed to make the most of the "small opportunities" that have come its way due to making a number of "small mistakes".
Vettel heads into this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix after collecting points in just one of the last eight races - although he was disqualified from second place in Hungary when the team failed to produce a sufficient fuel sample after the race.
Asked if he felt the team had lost its way, the four-time F1 champion said: “Not really. We just have not been very good in getting the smaller opportunities.
“When the big opportunities were there we got a lot of points but for the small ones, for ninth or 10th place, we have always had something being a little bit in the way, small mistakes, so I feel we could still improve.”
Vettel, who joined the team at the start of the year after six seasons at Ferrari, at least claims he now feels “a lot more at home in the car”.
The 34-year-old, however, recognises he must improve his qualifying performance to have a more enjoyable time racing his rivals.
“We would love to be a bit more in the mix and have a little bit of extra pace to be a bit more competitive to be at ease with the Alpha Tauris and the Alpines and control the situation a little bit more,” added Vettel.
“I think quali is our weak link. In the race we are very strong but if you start a couple of positions further back it gets a lot more difficult to recover because when you are at the same sort of pace in the race, to overtake it is not that easy.”
In practice at the Istanbul Park circuit, Vettel was a lowly 15th, just over 1.4secs down to the pacesetting Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes.
Vettel, though, was content with what he felt to be "a decent start to the weekend".
"We found a baseline in FP1, and in the afternoon, we were exploring the limits and trying different things," assessed Vettel.
"I think there is more that we can learn in FP3 tomorrow ahead of qualifying, which is positive.
"After the recent work here, it still feels very much like the same circuit but with different grip conditions, so the targets have not changed much.
"For example, we know it is very important to have a strong front end, or it can be quite costly across a lap.
"Our task now is to optimise what we learned in both sessions and have a good qualifying session tomorrow.”