Fernando Alonso believes the next two months will be key if McLaren are to prove capable of regularly replicating his fifth-placed finish at the Australian Grand Prix.
The two-time Formula One world champion has endured a trio of frustrating seasons back with McLaren, ending campaigns 17th, 10th and latterly 15th, but he made a bright start to 2018 with a new Renault engine in Melbourne.
Alonso noted that there were factors that worked in his favour in the season opener, though, and has urged his team to work hard in the coming weeks.
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"I think there is still quite a reasonable gap to close with the leaders, but it's up to us now," said the Spaniard ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
"It's up to the team to deliver the performance in the next weeks, in the next four, five six grands prix.
"If we are able to bring the performance to the track and close that gap and be in a reasonable distance with the pole position and the podium, finishes, things like that, it's up to us to deliver the result on the weekends.
"The next two months are crucial for our hopes in this championship. Hopefully we can keep improving the car, keep improving performance.
"And if it's not a world championship fight, we'll hopefully have some podium positions in the year or some regular top six, top five positions – not just fifth in Australia because there is a virtual safety car and two Haas retirements.
"Maybe fifth could become a normality. That's something we need to discover. It's probably the first time in the last three years that it's up to us now to deliver the results."