McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh is confident his team is not that far away from the pace-setting Red Bull Racing and Ferrari teams judging by what happened in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Although Whitmarsh openly admitted that his team had not done a good enough job with its MP4-25 after being comprehensively out-qualified, the potential Lewis Hamilton showed in the race has left Whitmarsh more upbeat about where his team stands.
"I think by comparison with Saturday I feel a lot better," he explained. "I think the encouraging things were that we made a reasonable start but, unfortunately, lost out to [Nico] Rosberg on the first lap. We were clearly quicker than Rosberg but couldn't get by, so that was a bit frustrating, And Lewis obviously lost that time.
"We had two great pit stops and, at both of them, we overtook somebody, which was good for the team, and good for team morale. You want to be the best at that and we certainly proved that today. Then following the stop Lewis had good race pace.
"So after the shattering time difference on Saturday, to be there or thereabouts was good. We underperformed on Saturday, we didn't have the qualifying pace, and Lewis was for quite a decent section of that race on more used tires than those in front, yet marginally quicker, just a few tenths, and [Sebastian] Vettel was trying at that stage. I don't know what time he became hurt, but we weren't far from them anyway."
Whitmarsh believes his team made a mistake in the levels of downforce it ran, and how it dealt with the tricky bump at Turn 6. He also reckoned that, like the team, Jenson Button would do a better job in the next race in Australia.
"I think in fairness on Saturday, Jenson was disappointed with his qualifying, and understandably. He didn't get the clean air. He was quicker than the Mercedes [in the race] but couldn't get past him, just as Lewis could not get past him earlier on. Lewis had a decent spell of clear air and he could demonstrate what he could do, Jenson didn't get that decent spell of clean air."
He added: "I am sure it was a reasonable start, I am sure we want to do better than that. We will see, going into Australia, we are hopefully going to bring a few bits to the car. I am sure everyone else will be doing the same, but we will try and improve at a faster rate and we are certainly in a better position than when I was stood here last year."