Finding the max element in an array, sorted ascending first and then descending

Can you beat this algorithm?
# ® Видул Николаев Петров

a = [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 24, 48, 12, 6, 5, 0, -1]

def calc(a):
    if len(a) <= 2:
        return a[0] if a[0] > a[1]  else a[1]

    l2 = len(a) / 2

    if a[l2 + 1] <= a[l2] and a[l2] >= a[l2 - 1]:
        return a[l2]

    if a[l2] > a[l2 + 1]:
        return calc(a[:l2+1])
    else:
        return calc(a[l2:])

print calc(a) # 48