McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has given Sergio Perez another confidence boost, saying he is moving in the right direction.
The Mexican didn't make the best of starts to life at McLaren, picking up only 12 points in the first five races. He was also accused by team-mate Jenson Button of being too aggressive.
Perez, though, put his head down and he has gradually improved in recent races.
"Checo is showing the intelligence and natural pace that we saw in him before," Whitmarsh said during a Vodafone phone-in.
"He is growing in confidence. He is very young and relatively inexperienced.
"To put himself into daunting place of being a McLaren driver, particularly when we haven't delivered a good enough car, there's been an enormous amount of pressure.
"He still has a lot to learn, he is still more than a decade behind Jenson and yon can't acquire that overnight, but I think he is working in the correct direction."
The inter-team rivalry at McLaren threatened to boil over after the Chinese Grand Prix when Button accused him of "dirty" driving and urged him to "calm down".
Whitmarsh believes Perez can learn a lot from team-ate Button, who has plenty of experience in the sport.
"He doesn't like being beaten either so they are going to fight in a correct and appropriate way," he said.
"Jenson is a tremendous benchmark, the ultimate professional with more than a decade of experience, very intelligent and quick.
"So [for Perez] to come into a new team, with a comparative lack of experience, if you're going to be a star of the future you have to beat your team-mate and he is getting stuck into that now."