Former Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill says McLaren's recent progress means the Woking squad are now at the level they should have been at from the beginning of the season.
McLaren struggled badly with pace and reliability in the first two races of 2023, and admitted that they had not hit key development targets set in pre-season, with Technical Director James Key leaving his post.
However, a better race at the third round in Melbourne saw drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri secure a double points finish, thanks in part to a high rate of attrition.
After a major upgrade package to the MCL60 was delivered, Norris came home ninth in Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix to add another two points to McLaren's tally, and Hill noted that the papaya outfit have finally caught up to their rivals.
"This is where they should have started. They're four or five months behind where they should be," Hill told the F1 Nation podcast.
"They are getting closer to being [behind Red Bull] in that mix of Ferrari, Aston Martin and maybe Mercedes.
"The 'A' group is Red Bull, and there is a very interesting 'B' group."
McLaren currently sit fifth in the 2023 Constructors’ Championship with 14 points, six clear of Alpine but 48 points behind fourth-placed Ferrari.
Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.