McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has urged the team to remain realistic and not buy into the growing hype that surrounds it.
Lando Norris caused excitement within the paddock when setting the third-fastest time in Friday practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, a time that appeared to be supported by the strong pace shown in winter testing.
Norris, however, downplayed the pace stating the team had simply shown more of its hand than other teams on the grid.
This proved to be the case with the Briton qualifying seventh, one place behind new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, for the season-opener.
“I think there was a bit of hype after the test and after the session on Friday regarding our performance but we always knew, we were always realistic about where we think we are," said Seidl.
“We just looked better than where we should have been because of different settings that we used in order to be best prepared today for qualifying.
"I think we simply showed more yesterday than the others and that is why, at least from what I could read in the media, I heard there was a bit of hype.
“Again, it is important to stay realistic and I have a realistic picture of where we are."
Last year, McLaren finished third in the constructors' championship standings and the team has made clear its ambition to return to the very top.
Seidl added: "I am very happy with the progress we could make over winter with the team, with the development on the car side, with the integration of the Mercedes power unit, with getting both drivers ready for this season.
"Now we simply have to make sure that we are, again, performing well at the race weekends to score big points again each weekend.
"Then I think we are in a good position again to fight for a good position in the constructors’ championship.”
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