While Lando Norris' hopes of claiming his maiden F1 win this season will largely depend on the nature of the remaining circuits, the F1 Nation crew believe McLaren have established themselves as the best of the rest behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
A rain shower in the closing stages proved disastrous for Norris in Russia, as he missed out on victory after opting to stay out on slicks. His gamble didn't pay off and opened the door for Lewis Hamilton to claim his 100th career F1 win, while the McLaren driver had to settle for P7 after being forced to make a late pit-stop.
Damon Hill, Natalie Pinkham and Tom Clarkson discussed McLaren's improvement on the latest F1 Nation podcast. Hill believes that Norris' chances of finally claiming his first win depend on whether the remaining circuits suit the McLaren, though he reckons the team are now the third-best on the grid.
"I think it depends on the nature of the circuits," said 1996 World Champion Hill. "[McLaren's] got its strong points and its weaknesses, but it's getting there in every respect, and gradually getting there as well in terms of tyre management.
"On pace in Sochi, it was fantastic. It was able to hold its own, it's definitely right up there nipping on the heels of the Red Bull and the Mercedes, but not quite as good as them."
As for Pinkham, she believes the race in Sochi was a welcome sight for McLaren, as Ricciardo battled back to finish fourth despite some mechanical issues earlier in the weekend.
"Just consider for a moment the competitiveness of this McLaren, because they were nowhere in Zandvoort, obviously brilliant and winning on merit in Monza," said Pinkham.
"They came into Sochi not really knowing where they stood, but Lando was able to hold Lewis back before the rain came. And Daniel finished in fourth, which was a place up for where he qualified, having not been anywhere earlier in the weekend."
Clarkson says McLaren have distanced themselves from Ferrari, and pointed to Ricciardo's ability to hold up Hamilton earlier in the race as proof of that.
"I do think they are out and out better than Ferrari," Clarkson stated. "Lewis was actually asked about the pace of the McLaren after the race, because he spent so long on Ricciardo's gearbox.
"He said it's very slippery in a straight line, very fast and [has] good top speed, but he also said the traction is really good as well. That's probably why it was good at Monza as well."