Lewis Hamilton believes McLaren are on the road to recovery after he produced his best qualifying performance of the season to secure ninth place on the grid for Chinese GP.
The 24-year-old has endured a trying start to his title defence having been stripped of third at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix before registering his solitary point with seventh place in Malaysia.
Following Wednesday's FIA ruling that the controversial 'double-decker' diffuser is legal, McLaren acted quickly to equip Hamilton's MP4-24 car with a modified design of the component as well as a new front wing.
The result was an instant improvement in performance as Hamilton topped the timesheets in first practice on Friday before reaching Q3 for the first time this season on Saturday.
While there is still some way to go before McLaren show the sort of form they enjoyed over the past two seasons, Hamilton believes the team is moving in the right direction.
"Step by step, we are moving forward," he said.
"Thanks to all the guys back at the factory for doing such a fantastic job and for churning away on all the new parts - every little step helps us catch the leaders.
"There is still a long way to go but this definitely feels like the start of the road to recovery."
Hamilton's team-mate Heikki Kovalainen could only qualify 12th but the performance of the two was enough to convince McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh that both can claim good results tomorrow.
Whitmarsh said: "There is still a long way to go - and we will not be happy until we are back at the front - but this is an encouraging and significant step for the whole team.
"We go into tomorrow's race seriously optimistic of getting both cars into the points."
Source : Planet F1