McLaren remains "the team to beat" despite the topsy-turvy outcome of the recent Malaysian grand prix.
That is the claim of reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, having slumped to sixth in the drivers' standings after a dire weekend in Malaysia.
The formerly-dominant Red Bull driver now lags a Ferrari and even a Sauber, after Fernando Alonso and the unlikely Sergio Perez proved the cream of the slippery Sepang circuit.
Sebastian Vettel, however, is still thinking silver.
Asked by the French-language RMC Sport to name the 'best team' of the moment, the German answered: "There are several. But McLaren seems very strong right now. They are the team to beat."
The trophy enthusiast received a small memento on the Melbourne podium last month, but a more impressive prize was the prestigious Grand Prix de l'Academie des Sports that he collected from FIA president Jean Todt recently in Paris.
"That was my first trophy (of 2012)," he laughed, "but I want much more than that!"
"It's a long championship," Vettel argued. "We did quite a good job in Australia, and Malaysia was chaotic with the weather. We have a good car and the objective is to fight for the title."