Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur has suggested that McLaren's F1 recovery was evident prior to its step forward in Austria.
The Woking-based outfit had conceded it had missed development targets with its car ahead of pre-season testing and was at the back of the grid following a nightmare start at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
But after introducing a sizeable upgrade at the Austrian Grand Prix - before further development on the new project - McLaren has consistently competed at the higher end of the field.
The team has scored five podiums in the last seven races, including its first double podium of the year last time out in Japan where Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri crossed the line in second and third behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
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McLaren added to its impressive development turnaround in Singapore with another upgrade that boosted its performance but despite the revival, Vasseur believes that the Austria update was not the sudden turning point for the Woking-based outfit.
“I’m not sure if we have exactly the same reading of the season,” Vasseur told media including RacingNews365.com.
“I think that they had a big issue at the beginning and then they recovered pretty quickly because, even in Barcelona, they were on the second row.
“I think it was Max [Verstappen], Carlos [Sainz], and then Lando and Lewis [Hamilton] on the second row, they were already competitive.
“This kind of track is probably suited more with their car than us. But for sure it’s not just a matter of pure potential, it’s a matter of driveability also.
“Each time you will do a step forward you will also help the driver to do a step forward, and this can be a kind of snowball effect.
"Still, a small step compared to Red Bull.”