Daniil Kvyat says a lack of Formula 1 mileage early in the campaign left Red Bull 'confused' about just how good its current chassis was.
With rapid progress having been made with its performance in recent races, it is now accepted that the Red Bull car is every bit as good, and could even be better, than the pace-setting Mercedes.
But rather than there having been a magic upgrade that has lifted its form, Kvyat thinks that its potential was simply disguised earlier in the campaign because the team lacked running to understand it.
"Genuinely talking, we were quite confused at the beginning of the season," Kvyat told Motorsport.com. "Having been so limited by mileage, we could not make our chassis work properly.
"From the European part of the season we started to bring this chassis characteristic in to a much better shape, and now I would say the chassis is back to where it belongs as one of the best again.
"It is nice to see this standard, and hopefully we can continue this way. What we are missing at the moment is a little horsepower, but the guys are on top of that as well."
Overcoming power deficit
Kvyat is well aware that Red Bull has had to make compromises to its set-up to compensate for the power deficit it has against Mercedes, but thinks a Renault upgrade coming next month could change things dramatically.
"It is not a surprise that we are not running the car as we would wish to, as some other teams do not have the limitations that we have," he said.
"But we are learning better and better how to adapt ourselves and we are more and more confident with that. Even with those limitations we have, we managed to be quite competitive which is good to see.
"We have managed to adapt ourselves better and better through the championship and we have learned how to be quite competitive on tracks that do not suit us very well, like Spa for example.
"It will be good to have extra help from our engine supplier to be more competitive in the power limited sections, which we are missing at the moment.
"But they know what they are doing and hopefully the modified specification will come soon – but obviously it has to work first of all."