Jenson Button believes his McLaren team is laying the early groundwork for an assault of the World Championship this year, even though it does not have the quickest car.
Coming off his brilliant victory in the Australian Grand Prix, Button reckons that the way he and teammate Lewis Hamilton have racked up a decent haul of points despite not being the pace-setters is a cause for huge encouragement.
"You always think the title might be on. It's a long season," said Button, who won on only his second outing for McLaren in Melbourne. "We all wanted to win the first race because the trend is that the winner of the first race goes on to the championship, but you want to be the exception to the rule. We don't have the raw pace yet, but if we can come away with results like Australia, it is phenomenal.
"As a driver you always want to retain your title – only 30 percent of drivers do it. But it's never easy, especially fighting against these exceptional drivers. But I am enjoying myself.
"It would be an achievement to win back-to-back titles with two different teams but we can't write that yet. We don't come away from here thinking we can win the next race easy. It's not like that. We have a long way to go, so we are going to work on it and I hope this win has spurred us all on."
Button believes that if McLaren can keep adding to its points tally without the fastest car, then that could pay dividends if, as he hopes, his team adds enough pace to the car to challenge Red Bull Racing.
"We were saying after Bahrain I didn't have a good race but I got reasonable points," he explained. "We don't have the quickest car but we still got points. [Sebastian] Vettel had the quickest car but they weren't able to make the most of it and didn't get points. We are picking up points when we don't have the quickest car, and hopefully we will get to a point when we are as quick or quicker. It's only two races in but I am really happy the way we have improved.
"The next race we have a couple of things to add to our performance and it is a circuit you can overtake on. Read the weather right and we could have another good race."
Button said he is well aware that if Red Bull Racing can get on top of its reliability, then the pace of the RB6 could make Vettel and Mark Webber unstoppable.
"In one way Vettel is in a good position, but they haven't got the reliability. When they get it right, they will be so tough and will be very quick."