Eric Boullier says it is unlikely McLaren will show the same step up in performance it demonstrated in Malaysia ahead of the next two grands prix in China and Bahrain.

Though neither car reached the finish line in Sepang, McLaren proved a more competitive force in Malaysia compared with Australia, albeit still as the slowest car on the grid bar the Manor cars.

Indeed, though Boullier was pleased with the progress shown between those two events, he is sceptical of a repeat when action gets underway for the back-to-back third and fourth events in China and Bahrain.

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"We came away from the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend feeling optimistic about our state of development and the improvements we'd made relative to our closest rivals. However, we don't take anything for granted, and are fully aware that the next two races probably won't show quite the same rate of improvement as we witnessed at Sepang.

"That's a natural consequence of the fact that, first, the performance gains we're finding aren't linear in fashion - some will be for performance, some for efficiency, and others for reliability; and, second, because the different tracks subtly colour and shade pace in ways that can be hard to read, particularly from the outside looking in.

"Nonetheless, we're pushing hard on every front to improve our competitiveness, and our aim is to bring continuous developments to both chassis and power unit to every race, at a rate that enables us to catch and pass the teams ahead of us."