Norbert Haug is remaining coy about contract negotiations with Michael Schumacher, but the Mercedes motorsport boss says he has nonetheless been impressed by the seven-times World Champion's professionalism in recent months.
Schumacher scored his first podium finish since returning to Formula 1 in the European Grand Prix at the weekend - a significant result given the miserable season he has endured to date.
Although Mercedes have enjoyed their best season since returning to the sport as a constructor, it is Schumacher's team-mate Nico Rosberg who has gained the lion's share of results, including victory in China.
The 43-year-old, meanwhile, had earned just two points prior to Valencia, having suffered no fewer than five retirements - mainly mechanical failures.
Schumacher's three-year deal expires at the end of season, with both team and driver offering nothing in the way of hints as to whether he might stay on.
And little appears to have changed after Schumacher's latest result, with Haug telling Autosport that the third place is unlikely to have an impact on the timetable for talks.
"It is a separate story and we will talk later about it with him," he said.
"We should not be described as being over the moon, but scoring 23 points in Valencia [with Schumacher and Rosberg] is a good result."
Even so, Haug and the rest of the Mercedes' top brass have been pleased with the way Schumacher has conducted himself in spite of the disappointments.
"Michael is a great sportsman, and this is even more demonstrated in his second career that he is really open, and open to critical questions," Haug said.
"He is a really balanced guy, and a guy who everybody who could look up to because he did not criticise us, did not make any public noises, and he was genuinely pleased in Valencia.
"He could have said: 'I won 91 races, why should I be happy?' But he was genuinely pleased and it was wrong to say it was inherited. With one lap to go he was fifth, but I can tell you a lot of stories where he was fifth and things went against him. What we could see in Valencia was that the genuine speed was there."
Haug added: "His lack of results this season are not down to the driver, and in fairness to him he could have definitely had in excess of 60 or 70 points if we would not have had technical issues - which would have been good for him and good for us in the Constructors' Championship. We did not get it because we got it wrong."