McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier says while the team waits for car upgrades over the next two races it will aim to maximise its current package as it targets the Formula 1 front-runners.

Boullier accepts McLaren were given a slice of good fortune by the double pit stop blunder by Haas plus the timely Virtual Safety Car period to allow Fernando Alonso to leapfrog Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for fifth place in the 2018 F1 opener in Australia.

With teammate Stoffel Vandoorne also securing points in Melbourne with ninth place McLaren have become the early midfield leaders which prompted Alonso to state his team’s next target is matching fellow Renault-powered squad Red Bull.

While Boullier sees the results at Albert Park as “a boost that we all needed”, after a fraught pre-season testing due to mechanical issues, he believes McLaren can out-develop its rivals while maximising its new Renault partnership to hunt down the leading teams.

“Our principal targets are further up the grid ahead of us, so we know there’s work to do and our focus is on the development race as well as the race on track,” Boullier said. “Speaking of car development, we’re working hard to bring updates to the next two grands prix, which we hope will help our boys continue to put up a good fight.

“As we saw in Melbourne, our competition is tough. We can’t take anything for granted and we know that despite a stronger performance than we’ve seen in recent months, we also benefitted from circumstances around us.

“The result at Albert Park was a boost that we all needed, but now we must move on, look firmly ahead and keep pushing forward.”

Alonso equalled his best result from the entire McLaren-Honda era in the 2018 F1 opener and the new-look McLaren-Renault debut with fifth place, his best result since the 2016 United States Grand Prix, while the double points finish marked the Woking-based team’s best start to an F1 campaign since its double podium at the 2014 opener.