Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton believes that a podium finish is possible in tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix after claiming his best qualifying position of the season.
The McLaren-Mercedes driver will start fifth, and is confident that he can at least match that in the race and could even climb into the top three.
"We do have the opportunity to get up in the top three, but it's going to be quite difficult," said Hamilton. "It'll be interesting to see what the other guys are doing in front.
"I don't really know what lap we're going to but you'll find out! For the strategy they told me, we should be OK to be able to fight for a few positions.
"We were a similar pace to a couple of guys in front so we should be in the top five provided everything goes smoothly and fingers crossed it will. I'm going to push as hard as I can and get some points for the team."
Hamilton put the team's improvement down to a greater understanding of the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-24, as the team has not introduced any development parts since last week's Chinese Grand Prix.
"It's a result of all of the teams work. We've been really pushing very hard over the last couple of months especially when we arrived in Melbourne we realised we needed to keep cracking on.
"I'm very proud of what they've done, the team has done a great job. The car was feeling a lot better this weekend even though we didn't make any updates. I enjoy driving the car and I'm looking forward to many updates in the future."
Despite being upbeat about McLaren's progress, and hinting that a first pole position may not be far away, Hamilton believes that the team must still make some major steps forward to emerge as a genuine contender for victory.
"I can smell pole position now - or I can see it rather," said Hamilton. "But it's just a lengthy process, it takes time. Even in a marathon you start slow and build up.
"There are no high speed corners, so if we had a few more of those we'd be further behind. The track is more to our liking and we still have a lot of time to find."