Off the back of its recovery to fourth place in the constructors' championship in 2019, McLaren entered 2020 braced for a tougher challenge to head Formula 1's midfield. The emergence of Racing Point's 'pink Mercedes' in Barcelona and a strong showing from Renault throughout testing left some McLaren team members fearing it could drop as low as sixth or seventh in the standings.
Yet what followed was the best season in McLaren's recent history. Rarely did the team have the third-fastest car (on raw pace it was fifth, just behind Ferrari), yet it was able to beat its faster rivals to snare third in the standings, its best finish since 2012.
It was further validation for the recovery plan that has been formulating ever since McLaren's divorce with Honda after the 2017 season, and proved the strength of a balanced driver line-up in Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr, who eagerly capitalised on opportunities that presented themselves.