Jenson Button finished sixth and Sergio Perez eighth at the Nurburgring, and Whitmarsh was pleased that McLaren could follow up the disappointment of getting no points in Canada or Great Britain with 12 in Germany.
"Obviously I'm not doing handstands or anything like that," PA quotes Whitmarsh as saying.
"We are still not where we expect to be or want to be, but at least it was a step in the right direction.
"After a record 64 races in the points, to then go the following two races without points was a bit of a sharpener to the mind."
McLaren are currently sixth in the constructors' championship.