Lando Norris says it is "way too early to tell" where McLaren might slot into the pecking order in 2022, as he played down the team's pace-setting start to pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Norris rose to the top of the timesheets in the closing stages of Wednesday's running, using the Soft (C4) tyre to usurp the Ferrari drivers who had previously led the way on the Medium (C3) compound.
Asked at the end of the day if his car is as fast as it looks, Norris said: "I hope so! I don't know. It's way too early to tell anything.
"Now we're P1 and everyone's gonna think we're gonna win the race, but no chance...
"No, I think it feels good. I think we've made some good improvements already from the beginning of the day. But we're only in day one of the season and even if we're amazing now, everything could change by the time we get to the first race, and everything can change by the second.
"The rate of development everyone's going to bring to the first half the season is going to be extremely high. I just hope it's fast. It feels good. [There are] definitely many things to work on; some things are not feeling so good.
"But for a new car and something, let's say, we never drove before, with so many new things, I think it was a decent start."
Lots for Norris to get his head around
Norris went on to admit that there will be plenty to "get my head around" over the remainder of the pre-season, given the number of changes that have come into play with the 2022-spec cars.
"I'm not gonna say anything! I'm not gonna give anything away to people!" Norris laughed, after racking up 103 laps.
"No, there's certain things you've got to change. Not everything; a lot of things are similar. You've just got to go out and fuel the car and drive.
"I think even if the car was the same, I would still be trying a lot of different things, trying different driving styles and so on. With this car, you might have to adapt slightly differently and commit more to one style of driving than the other.
"I don't think I would have started any differently to a normal season, but you've just got to expect more differences and be ready to change more than maybe what you're used to.
"I think I have a good understanding. But it's still early; there are so many things I need to try and understand and get my head around."
Daniel Ricciardo will take over the wheel of the MCL36 on Thursday, before McLaren split their running on Friday.
With F1 pre-season testing getting underway in Barcelona this week, our journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour and Thomas Maher look ahead to what to expect.