Lewis Hamilton has played down his chances of fighting for victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix, despite his McLaren team's step forward.
The British squad enjoyed its most competitive outing of the season in Germany nearly two weeks ago, having introduced several updates for its car.
The form seen in Germany has boosted the team, with McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh claiming the squad was hoping to fight for victory in Hungary. However, speaking ahead of the Hungaroring race, Hamilton was more cautious.
"I don't want to get ahead of ourselves," Hamilton told reporters. "The other guys are seriously quick and our underlying pace [at the Nurburgring], even though it looked quite good through FP1 and 2, we were still a good half a second off.
"But it's better than being 2.5 seconds off. A huge step in the right direction and we've just got to keep on pushing, hopefully getting the results that will keep on bringing the energy into the team. We're definitely on the right track to try to catch up."
Hamilton, however, admits his morale has been boosted thanks to the improvements to his car.
"Personally it feels great," he said. "When you're driving a car with so little grip and you're sliding around, it's just been such hard work driving the car and keeping it on the track. That's been the hardest thing, just keeping it on the track. And you have to really explore your limits to keep it on the track and you don't get the tires up to temperature and don't get everything from the package. This is great. To be able to push and have the confidence in the car and to be able to race."
The World Champion, who has scored just nine points in nine races, reckons his season will be one of two different halves now that his car is competitive.
"Yeah, definitely. It's good to see because we've had new updates coming all the time but they've not been bringing a step forwards. To finally get that step forward is something we've waited so long for.
"It's exciting to get in the car. See how it performs at the different tracks that are left, at some of them there'll be a bigger gap to the others than at other tracks. Fingers crossed this track will be good for us. More twisty tracks will help us."