Fernando Alonso says McLaren's level of performance in the first two races of the season is pretty much where he expected it to be, suggesting the results bode well for the remainder of the year.
The Spaniard is hopeful of capitalizing on McLaren's resurgence with Renault this season and launched his campaign with two successive finishes in the points in Melbourne and Bahrain.
During pre-season testing, the two-time world champion said McLaren ambitioned to challenge Red Bull at the outset, but the Woking-based outfit remains at a fair distance from its Milton Keynes counterpart.
However, Alonso is satisfied with what has been achieved so far, even if the team's performance has fallen short of others expectations.
"We’re third in the constructors championship, fourth in the drivers' championship - maybe not on performance," he said.
"I don’t know exactly what the people were expecting, from one season to another, when the regulations stay the same, and there are three teams ahead of everyone last year.
"This year they keep ahead of everyone.
"Last year in three races, [we had] zero points. Bahrain last year, Stoffel [Vandoorne] didn’t make the start.
"On the grid, he was pulling the car into the pitlane. This year, two races, four cars to the chequered flag.
"As I said, look at the facts, not the feelings or the wishes or the dreams. If we see the facts, this is a very good start."
Indeed, the facts points to significant progress this year, both in terms of performance and reliability.
"We didn’t have any mechanical failures, we didn’t have any operational failures. I think we’re the only team now," Alonso said.
"With pit stop problems for Ferrari and Haas, and Red Bull retirements, now there’s only one team remaining with no issues at all: that’s only McLaren.
"Even Mercedes changed their gearbox a couple of times. This could change quite quickly, but so far, the start of the season is very positive," he added.
"I understand the expectations are difficult to meet when we’re talking about McLaren and a championship fight."