McLaren was gunning for victory with Lando Norris in the United States Grand Prix, according to Team Principal Andrea Stella.
The team had saved a set of Hard tyres for the race in anticipation of a two-stop strategy, ultimately opting to go for a Medium-Hard-Hard strategy with second-place starter Norris after he led the opening laps.
Max Verstappen utilised the undercut to get past Norris in the first stint, who held onto the Dutchman's Red Bull, with McLaren undercutting the World Champion next time around - but Norris could not repass.
Norris would also be passed by Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes late on as the elder Briton charged through on Mediums, but Norris would officially be credited with second following Hamilton's disqualification for excessive skid-block wear.
Despite a fifth straight podium - four of which have been second-place - for Norris, Stella revealed loftier ambitions.
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McLaren victory push
"We wanted to go for the victory, so the only way to do that was try to go as fast as possible, let's see what the tyres do and if they are consistent or not," Stella told media, including RacingNews365.
"There's no point in just taking care of tyres and being slow from a lap time point of view to achieve a certain strategy, so we just wanted to go as fast as possible.
"Once Verstappen was close to us and we were under attack, we couldn't defend and then we lost the tyres so we pitted onto the second set of Hards."
McLaren knew Hamilton would be a problem given the blistering pace shown on the Mediums by Verstappen, however, it expected to fare better on the Hard.
"Even in this case we tried to go as fast as possible because we knew that Hamilton would have been a problem at the end," explained Stella.
"From the point of view of pure lap time and degradation, we still have some work to do.
"At the same time, we are very encouraged that we were in a condition to think about going for the victory just by going as fast as possible."