Nicolas Hamilton felt he could have beaten some of the more established names were it not for traffic during his first British Touring Car Championship qualifying session at Croft.
The 23 year-old finished his first qualifying session in the series in 29th and last of those who set a lap time, although he felt he could have gained as much as a second had he not been blocked.
And despite adapting well to the championship in his first three sessions, Hamilton was caught in two minds when assessing his qualifying given that he could have ended the session higher up.
“I didn’t set myself any real targets for today and just wanted to get on with it and drive,” he said. “I think I’ve made some good progress and improved a lot, so I’m pretty happy in terms of the amount of time I’ve found.
“At the same time I’m also a bit disappointed that I wasn’t quicker in qualifying as the data shows I was up by a second and then I got blocked into the complex so I had the potential to be ahead of some of the guys who’ve been racing all season – and to be ahead of them on merit.
“Unfortunatley that means some people will look at the time sheets and think I was just at the back when the reality is that I had the pace to be more in the mix.
“I’ve gained a lot more confidence in the car over the course of today, particularly in the quicker parts of the circuit which is where we made up some of our time. The team has done a mega job and now I want to get three finishes in the races and try and learn more tomorrow.”
Team Principal Shaun Hollamby said he was happy with Hamilton’s Saturday showing, having stayed out of trouble and within sight of his nearest competitors.
“We’re very pleased with the way Nicolas has performed and in a way, it’s good that he is disappointed at the fact he didn’t get more from qualifying as it shows the progress he’s made,” he insisted. “If he’d managed to get his final lap in, he’d have been around 25th and right where we hoped he would be. He’s done a good job, stayed out of trouble and hasn’t made any mistakes.”