Jenson Button called his Canadian Grand Prix fourth place a "lucky" result for McLaren, but still reckons the car felt the best it has in the 2014 Formula 1 season.
McLaren has lost ground since its double podium in the opening round in Australia, with its early lead in the F1 constructors' championship becoming a distant fifth place.
Button's fourth in Montreal was the team's first top four appearance since Melbourne, and was achieved despite him being only ninth with 12 laps to go.
A string of late passing moves plus Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa's last-lap crash brought the Briton up the order.
"Some races you get unlucky, some races you put yourself in the right place and it works out," said Button.
"But in terms of how the car feels, that's a lot more important than the fourth place.
"There is progress being made. The feel of the car is the best it's been all year here, with less downforce.
"There's more coming, the next couple of races should be where we see progress and take us closer to the front.
"A fourth place without people crashing is probably our aim for the next race."
Button had spent much of the race as low as 12th before the McLaren found pace on the soft tyres.
"The first stint was terrible on the super-soft tyre, I really struggled," he said.
"But as soon as we got on the prime the car was good, we came alive and I could pick my way through the field."
He gained two places in one move late on as Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg tripped over each other.
"Fernando almost hit Hulkenberg at the back and had to dive down the inside, Hulk had to go wide and I dived down the inside of both of them," Button said.
FRUSTRATING RACE FOR MAGNUSSEN
Kevin Magnussen came home ninth in the second McLaren and said it had been an underwhelming race for him.
"It was tough, not really much to do. It's frustrating when you're looking after the tyres and not really racing anyone," he said.
"I was racing [Jean-Eric] Vergne at the end but just couldn't get past him.
"I said before the race if we could get any points today we should be happy and we got two points."