Fresh from a strong weekend for McLaren in last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, rookie driver Lando Norris says he believes that they can start to take the fight to Red Bull in upcoming race weekends.
Norris finished the last race in sixth position just ahead of Pierre Gasly, with Carlos Sainz just behind in eighth place despite starting from the back row.
At one point in the race, Norris successfully overtook Lewis Hamilton for position, and was running ahead of Max Verstappen for the first seven laps.
He ended up settling for sixth place, but insisted that there had been more pace in the car than he had been able to show on the day.
"There was a lot more in it if I really needed to push," Norris said. "Gasly was pushing me for the last few laps, but I was just doing what I had to do in terms of saving the tyres and not taking any risks.
"On average we're getting a little bit closer [to Red Bull]," he insisted, suggesting that the characteristics of some upcoming venues might play to the McLaren's strengths.
"Maybe some places, Monza maybe?" he suggested. "They're losing in the straights, and some tracks [like Monza] that will be highlighted more than others."
However Norris is realistic enough to know that Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes remain firmly out of reach of the midfield teams in regular race conditions on Sunday afternoon.
"I'm pretty sure in the race pace we're a long way away from them," he admitted. "In qualifying, maybe we can have some attempts.
"They're still the much quicker car," he continued. "Maybe not altogether the best car, but their car is much quicker than ours in the corners.
"In the race, they have better tyre wear and their race pace is better," he added.
Currently McLaren is in fourth place in the constructors championship, making them the 'best of the rest' at the head of the midfield teams.
They enjoy a 20 point advantage over Renault after two consecutive double points finished in France and Austria.
However they're still over a hundred points in arrears of Red Bull in third place, emphasising the gulf between the Big Three teams at the top and the rest of the grid.