Andreas Seidl has insisted McLaren "never underestimated" Ferrari and expects the battle for third in the constructors' standings to be even fiercer in future races.
McLaren regained the upper hand in the championship fight courtesy of the Scuderia's dismal pace at Paul Ricard at the start of the first triple-header of the F1 season.
However, as Daniel Ricciardo suffered from a temporary issue that dropped him out of points contention at the Styrian Grand Prix, Ferrari fought back to outscore the Woking-based team by four points and cut the gap in the standings to 12.
“Ferrari was strong. It is not a surprise. We never underestimated what a team like Ferrari could do," said Seidl.
“Still, I think in terms of qualifying performance and also the performance that Daniel could pull off, with a car with no reliability issues we could beat them. That is the positive thing.
“But it will be a tough battle throughout the year depending on the tracks as well, the different track characteristics and so on.
"It is important we focus on ourselves and try each weekend to extract the maximum out of the package that we have now, making sure we stay on top of the reliability, making sure we stay on top of the operational side as well during race weekends.
“It is good to see also that on the pit stop time, the team did a great job again with two strong pit stops and then I guess together with Lando and Daniel we have everything we need to keep this battle alive.”
Seidl hoping softer tyres plays to McLaren's "strengths"
For the second race at the Red Bull Ring, Pirelli has nominated the softest tyre compounds in its range.
Seidl is hoping this plays into McLaren's hands at the Austrian Grand Prix, given its tendency to work the tyres less than its rivals.
“It will be an interesting weekend with the different tyre selection as well, on the softer side. With our car normally being good to the tyres it is hopefully something that plays to our strengths.
“But again, it is difficult to predict. Ferrari was strong in the race so it will again be a tight battle and I am looking forward to it.”
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