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McLaren making 'small steps' to front - Michael

ESPN Staff
June 5, 2013 « Bottas feels he matches Maldonado | McLaren defends Perez's driving as 'what F1's about' »
McLaren showed improvement in Monaco but Sam Michael is unsure how far off the front it remains © Sutton Images
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Sam Michael says McLaren can see the progress it is making towards the front of the grid and hopes to continue making "small steps" this weekend in Canada.

McLaren's poor start to the season has slowly improved as the team has secured three top-six finishes in the last four races. Sergio Perez was set to finish fifth in Monaco before retiring with brake problems, and having improved on the bumpy street surface that was the team's weakness in Montreal, Michael believes the team is making clear progress. However, he has warned against expecting big improvements at any one race as the team prepares to test new parts in Canada.

"I would say that the more parts we are putting on the car are to investigate different things rather than a comprehensive update," Michael told a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "I wouldn't describe it as that; I would describe it as small steps in the right direction. The last few small steps we have put on the car have worked and as long as we keep doing that then we'll gradually keep moving toward the front."

Michael admitted McLaren was unsure how close to Mercedes and Red Bull it was in Monaco and hopes the weather in Montreal doesn't prevent it from measuring its development.

"Monaco was quite a special case. The car was good around there, it was good to see both of the cars fighting at least with the Ferraris and Lotuses, but when I say special case the true pace of all the cars at the front was controlled quite a lot because of the tyre saving that was going on so it was always hard to see exactly where you were.

"I think Montreal is a track that has been quite good to McLaren over the years and we will go there with some more things to investigate and try. We're developing the car, the car is getting better; it's still not as fast as we hoped and not returning to the relative performance that we'd like, but it is still moving in the right direction. We've got some more tests to do which we will still be able to fit in around the new tyre test on Friday, but the only thing that could throw a curveball at all the teams this weekend is the weather; the weather forecast has got a lot of rain around."