After a lacklustre start to the 2022 campaign in Bahrain, where McLaren failed to score any points, the Woking-based team has made rapid progress that allowed Lando Norris to grab his first top three finish of the season in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
But with Haas, Alfa Romeo and Alpine all showing flashes of great potential so far this season, McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl is cautious about believing his squad is ready to emerge as the head of the chasing back behind Red Bull and Ferrari.
"I think from what we have seen now from Melbourne and Imola, the car is working under all kinds of conditions and also different track layouts, which is very positive," explained Seidl.
"But, at the same time, if you look at the field where it is very close between the Mercedes, us, Valtteri [Bottas], and Kevin [Magnussen], there's no comfort in what we are seeing now in the last few weekends."
Although staying realistic about where McLaren stands, Seidl does at least feel that the team can target consistent Q3 performance and a decent chunk of points from each weekend.
"I'm never too confident because I know that the machinery in this paddock with all teams is not standing still, but I am confident that we have a car and a package which is able at each weekend at the moment to fight for Q3 and fight for good points," he said.
"And that goes together with a strong team and two strong drivers.
"It's not just about lap time performance, it's also about putting the weekends together and I give really big compliments to the team about how everyone pulled it off in Imola despite some challenges like not getting many laps done in P2."
Despite not getting carried away with how well things have improved, Seidl is hugely encouraged by the way the team knuckled down after the Bahrain struggles to get itself back into contention.
"It was great to see for me how the team was dealing with the challenge of the Bahrain race weekend, and how everyone stayed calm and united and simply kept their head down and kept working together as one team through it," he said.
"That was very pleasing to see because that was the first real test of everything we had put in place over the last three years, where the sun was always shining.
"So I am very pleased with that, and very pleased as well to know that we have a plan in place of where we want to bring more performance to the car in the next weeks and months."