McLaren boss Andreas Seidl believes Racing Point still has greater potential to extract from its RP20, despite his squad moving clear in the scrap for third in the championship.
McLaren and Racing Point both scored a podium in Italy, courtesy of Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll respectively, but the Woking-based team had Lando Norris fourth, while Sergio Perez was only 10th.
As a consequence McLaren strengthened its grip on third in the Constructors’ fight, 16 points ahead of Racing Point (which would be just one point, but Racing Point were deducted 15 points), with Renault 11 further back, and Ferrari 10 adrift of the French marque.
But Seidl has cautioned that McLaren cannot yet get carried away with its current position.
“I think we have a chance to fight for this P3,” he said.
“I still think that Racing Point probably in terms of pure car potential is still a better car.
“It will be very interesting now, also together with new engine modes and together with updates everyone is still bringing, [to see] how it plays out again in terms of the pecking order on more normal tracks, Mugello and then after.
“I still think it will be a tight battle between us, the Racing Points, the Renaults and also the Ferraris.
“I think we have [a good car] and combined with a great team, combined with two great drivers, which are a big asset for us as a team, we have everything in our hands to fight for the P3.”
McLaren was out-performed by Renault in Belgium but finished ahead of its customer team in Italy – an aspect which Seidl conceded came as a surprise.
“We were not sure where we were [coming to Monza] compared to the Red Bull, we knew Mercedes would be completely out of reach, we also thought Renault would be stronger after their strong performance at Monza last year and in Spa,” he said.
“But somehow with the updates of the car for this year the layout at Monza with even lower downforce compared to Spa and the corner characteristics it somehow suited our car.
“We found a sweet spot for the car, drivers felt comfortable with the car from the first outing here and we could build it up over the weekend.
“It’s great to see and it gives us positive momentum heading towards the second half of the season.”