McLaren sporting director Sam Michael believes victory is a realistic goal in the German Grand Prix despite Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton starting back in sixth and seventh.
The British duo struggled in wet qualifying, although both gained a place from Mark Webber's gearbox-change penalty. But with the weather expected to clear up for race day, Michael is very confident about what the upgraded McLaren can do on a dry track.
Asked to assess McLaren's dry pace, he replied: "Very competitive for us, we were very strong in P1 and in P3 on all the tires and on race fuel loads in particular."
Michael declined to compare McLaren's likely race speed with top qualifiers Ferrari and Red Bull, but said: "All I know is what we did and what we normally do compared to them and all our data shows that we should have a very strong race car tomorrow." When asked if McLaren could win on Sunday, Michael said: "Yes, that is our target."
He does not think the fact that the team has very little dry mileage on its major upgrade package will be any kind of disadvantage because he is confident the performance gain available from the new parts has been accurately predicted.
"Our correlation this year has been really strong," said Michael. "I don't think there has been one item that in the end we have been confused about so the correlation has been good."
The McLarens were 3.5 seconds off the pace in the wet Q3 session at Hockenheim, which Michael put down to not getting the Pirelli wets working correctly.
"I think operationally we managed everything right so it is just a matter of understanding how to get the tires working better because when you are 3.5 seconds off pole that is not 'chip away and find a couple of tenths,' that is a switch between it working and not working," he admitted. "Our dry pace in P1 and P3 has been good so our focus right now is on tomorrow and then in the background understanding how to improve our performance on wets."