Jenson Button says finishing the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix marks a "massive step forward" for McLaren and Honda following its troubled pre-season.
The 2009 world champion was the last car home in 11th place in Melbourne - two laps down - but he said that completing 58 laps represented a good result in the team's circumstances.
"We're not going to say we're happy with 11th but it's a good step," he said.
"It's a massive step for the team to finish the race after the minimal testing we had.
"We're nowhere near where we want to be, but this is progress and now we have lots of useful data.
"I didn't think I was going to finish today - I was surprised to see the chequered flag - so if you look at it like that it's a good result.
"We'd not completed more than 12 laps without a problem before this weekend so it's a massive step forward.
"Now we have a lot of useful information that can hopefully help us make gains for Malaysia as well."
Button added that missing out on a points finish "doesn't mean anything to us right now", but he said that he could see signs of performance compared to the rest of the field whenever he was around other cars.
"I'm getting lapped a lot, and watching the other cars out there, other than the Mercedes and the Ferrari there's nothing that stands out as a lot stronger than us in the corners," he said.
"Compared to the Force India we're quicker in the corners. With the Red Bull and the Sauber we're quite similar.
"I was saving a lot of fuel, and obviously everyone was disappearing on the straights, but in some of the corners I could chase cars when they got past me."
Kevin Magnussen failed to start the race when his car came to a smoky halt before getting to the grid, but Button said McLaren had no concerns that it was going to be an issue that could affect his race.
"We stayed in the garage until we figured out that it was something my car wasn't affected by," he said.
Magnussen, standing in for the recovering Fernando Alonso, added: "There will be lots of learning on the car that finished, and even from my car.
"We don't know what the problem is yet, but it will be something we learn from.
"Even though it doesn't sound normal for McLaren, the fact that the other car finished the race is a small victory."