ACKNOWLEDGING THE COMPETITION: Nico Hulkenberg says that McLaren-Honda is steadily fighting back to full competitiveness. Image: AP/ Jens Meyer
Germany - Nico Hulkenberg has hailed McLaren-Honda's rate of improvement in 2016.
The German drives for Force India, the small Silverstone based outfit that has impressed by taking on Williams for the role of Formula 1's fourth-quickest team.
But Hulkenberg says McLaren-Honda is no longer too far behind.
McLaren-Honda is coming
Force India is currently just 15 points behind Williams for fourth, but Hulkenberg is quoted by Spain's AS newspaper: "We want to fight for it and, in my view, McLaren-Honda will also be there.
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"I think in the remainder of the season, we will have a very intense battle between these three teams.
"The truth is that the McLaren looks better all the time."
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While the battle in 2016 will continue to rage, most teams are now beginning to focus very hard on the big change of chassis and tyre regulations for 2017.
But Honda's Yusuke Hasegawa said of the remaining goals for 2016: "McLaren wants to finish as the third force, and Honda wants to improve by half a second."