Renault's Nico Hulkenberg admits he didn't expect the massive difference in performance this year between the mid-field runners and the teams at the front of the grid.
Ferrari and Mercedes have traded wins so far this season as the pair run away from the rest of the field, a sheer dominance which impresses Hulkenberg.
"It is a bit scary. The gap is massive from Ferrari and Mercedes even to Red Bull," Hulkenberg told Motorsport.com.
"And from Red Bull to Williams again there is half a day, so…
"I'm not sure if you could have expected that, but I think especially Mercedes and Ferrari, their developments, what they've done over the winter and the pace they have it's pretty special."
Renault has shown progress of its own in its second season in F1 as a works effort, with Hulkenberg scoring points in the last three races, although forced to pull out all the stops to do so.
"I think the performance and where the car stands and where we are is pretty much is what I thought we would get when I signed up last year," he said.
"I did not expect any miracles, that we will be straight away in a top seven easily, I think pretty much what I thought where we are, where we find ourselves now.
"We can fight for points, we need a little bit of luck and to do a bloody good job and every decision has to be right, otherwise no points.
"But Renault has over the winter achieved to get the connection to the midfield straight away."