The McLaren-Honda drivers had two very different days in Bahrain, with Fernando Alonso having the better of the running after Jenson Button was hampered by issues in both first and second practice.
Alonso placed the McLaren inside the top ten for the first time in 2015 in first practice, and then followed that up by taking eleventh in the second session, and felt the team are continuing their upward swing of getting closer to the midfield pack.
“Today I had a very smooth day, and I was happy with the car in every condition, so tomorrow we just need to make sure we optimise the performance of the car and try to get a good result,” insisted Alonso.
“Still, today is only Friday, and we saw in Shanghai that we had a decent performance on the Friday but then not so good on the Saturday – due to the fact other people were running more fuel than us on the Friday.
“Even so, we can see that we’re getting closer and closer to the mid-pack with every race. Definitely we’re moving in the right direction, we just need to do it that bit quicker!
“We don’t have any ‘magic bullets’ here, since we’re only four days after the last race, but we have some little tweaks that are putting some performance in the car.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same for Jenson today, so we’re missing some information, but we’ll try to recover tomorrow.”
Button’s day could possibly be described as a nightmare. The Briton was compromised in FP1 following an early spin, and then had apparent Honda issues in second practice that saw him finish the session down in nineteenth position behind the Manor of Will Stevens.
“I guess it wasn’t a great day, but at least we got a lot of useful data on the car,” said Button. “The slightly frustrating thing, though, is that both cars were set up quite differently today, to get comparative aero info, and we weren’t really able to benefit from that on my car.
“Hopefully, we won’t have further issues; that way, I can get some decent running tomorrow so as to see what the car is doing.
“Whatever happens, though, it’s not going to be an easy weekend. We knew that already. And qualifying will undoubtedly be tricky again!”