Lewis Hamilton is not getting his hopes up for the rest of the season despite a vastly-improved McLaren MP4-24 enabling him to fight at the front in Germany.
Hamilton was taken out of contention by a first corner brush with eventual race winner Mark Webber that gave him a right rear puncture, but there was no doubt his car was much better than it has been at any point this season.
But he remained cautious, stopping short of predicting a full-blown McLaren renaissance.
“It is not a revival, it is as I’ve said before a work-in-progress,” Hamilton said on his website.
“The team has more improvements planned, and it would be great if we could further close the gap to the leaders and think about attacking at some of the races, but we are remaining realistic: Red Bull and Brawn have both got fantastic cars and it will be incredibly hard to just turn up and be able to compete with them.
“At least we are now on the right track with our upgrades and the development process continues for both this year and the next – and while it’s nice to think about race results and running at the front – as I’ve said before I now look at this year as a development year for all of us and one which will only make us stronger.
Hamilton nevertheless spoke of his confidence in the car.
“I’m confident that we’ll have some stronger showings in the next few races, and then we should have a clearer idea of just how we’ll go at the end of the season.”
While it is impossible to predict where Hamilton would have finished yesterday, many insiders suspect the improved McLaren to be more competitive than the team have been saying.