Lando Norris has insisted third in the United States Grand Prix exceeded McLaren's expectations despite seeing a victory chance slip away at the Circuit of the Americas.
The Briton took the lead from Ferrari's Charles Leclerc on the opening lap and showed strong initial pace to pull out a gap of over two seconds to the rest of the field.
But a change to Hard tyres for the final two stints saw Norris struggle to match Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who made his way from sixth on the grid to the race win, and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who offset his strategy to attack at the end.
"Leading the race I could control it [the pace], but it just wasn't enough today," said Norris.
"But I am happy, it was a good race from my side. We knew our struggles, we knew what was going to be difficult and it was just the degradation.
"The pace over 10 laps in the stint at the beginning was strong, I just couldn't hold on long enough.
"We are getting there, progress every weekend, just some more steps needed."
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Norris on Hamilton defence
Norris aggressively defended his position from Hamilton into Turn 1 in the closing stages, darting to the left just before the braking zone, only to eventually be consigned to yielding.
"I just tried [to defend], but I couldn't do it," he explained.
"I didn't have any tyres left at the end - you saw how quickly he pulled away at the end.
"I always had to look after my own race and do the best I could, I had to look after the tyres and it was just too difficult.
"Maybe if it was a cooler track, it would have suited us a little bit more but it wasn't.
"I am still happy, the team has done an excellent job, a podium here was better than we expected coming into the weekend, so very happy."