Failing to get Jenson Button
into the final ten in qualifying on Saturday afternoon for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix
was obviously not what McLaren
team principal Martin Whitmarsh was hoping for, but he was still optimistic that they had made significant progress this weekend ahead of the August summer break.
"We had a little more optimism than this early in the week, but I think we've made a small step," he told reporters in Budapest. "We've got some understanding, we made a series of parts pretty late without the normal process and I think we know we can get more - and will get more - now we have a direction and some good ideas."
That's not to say that he was satisfied with how things went in qualifying, he admitted.
"We shouldn't be - and we're not - pleased with where we are but I think the guys did a good job this weekend with what we gave them," he said. "We're a little bit closer, but it's very tight and it's very challenging to get through [to Q3] with the car we're giving them at the moment."
Jenson Button has been talking up McLaren's progress in recent days and even predicting that they might be able to compete for a podium rather than merely points at the next Grand Prix in Belgium, and he was standing by that even after qualifying in a disappointing 13th place in Hungary.
"Qualifying for me obviously wasn't good but I think this weekend's been difficult to showcase the improvements [that we've made]," he said. "The layout, the type of circuit, it's very unusual the balance you get around here.
"I think at the circuits coming up you'll see the improvements we've made this weekend - Spa, Monza you'll see we've made a reasonable step forward," he added.