The McLaren-Honda team will see Fernando Alonso start the Bahrain Grand Prix from fourteenth on the grid on Sunday, but Jenson Button will start twentieth and last after further mechanical issues for the Briton.
Alonso managed to take McLaren through to the second part of qualifying for the first time in 2015, and felt the team are continuing to make a step forward. He acknowledges there is still plenty of progress still to be found, but is hoping to break into the top ten during the race on Sunday.
“This weekend has been a nice surprise so far – and the car felt better again today,” said Alonso. “We’ve made a step forward, performance-wise; everything appears to be going in the right direction.
“Of course, we’ll never be happy that our qualifying effort ran out in Q2, but it’s a step forward, and the whole team will and should enjoy this result because they’ve been working so hard to achieve it.
“Tomorrow will be about finishing the race and getting both cars to the flag. We’ve had some problems with reliability this weekend, with Jenson’s car, so we need to keep improving in that area.
“We’ll need a bit of luck if we’re to score points tomorrow.”
Team-mate Button was less fortunate during qualifying, with the Briton pulling off to the side of the track early in the session without managing to set a lap time, with the team still investigating the cause of his stoppage. Despite this, he remains positive that he can have a good race on Sunday.
“Well, FP3 was pretty good, especially after yesterday’s limited running,” said Button. “And then, in quali, I don’t really know what happened; it felt a bit similar to what occurred on Friday morning when everything shut down on the car. There was a loud bang, so I pulled over and got out.
“We’ve had quite a few issues this weekend, but the important thing is that we’re improving. Fernando got through to Q2, which is a good step for the team, and it’s just a pity I couldn’t be there as well.
“We knew it was going to be a hard start to the year, and it has been, but, even so, there are more positives than we thought there would be.
“Looking ahead to tomorrow, our race pace is likely to be not too bad. So hopefully we can sort out our reliability glitches ahead of tomorrow and have a decent race.”