It’s fair to say that McLaren F1 Team have been in the Formula 1 wilderness for some years, but this season their fortunes are finally starting to turn around, with todays second practice session providing some home for the former champions as Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. finished fourth fastest.
While it is only practice and plenty can change before qualifying and race day, it was a breath of fresh air for the Woking-based team.
The morning session saw Sainz complete a total of 34 laps, finishing in seventh place with a fastest time of 1:13.973.
During the afternoon practice Sainz put in a further 45 laps, recording a time of 1:12.553, ending up in fourth place as the chequered flag flew.
“We can be pretty happy with Friday.” said Sainz. “The run plan was ambitious, doing a lot of out-ins, getting in a lot of tests for the aerodynamicists, a lot of components back-to-back and trying to find the right compromise.
“In that sense, I think we’re working in the right direction and it’s good to have new parts to try in search of performance.“
Last year Fernando Alonso set the fastest time for the team on the opening day with a lap time of 1:13.866, with Sainz’ fastest time 1.313 seconds quicker it shows promise for the rest of the race weekend.
“I felt comfortable with the car from the morning session and that obviously helped to put together a decent lap and to have good pace on the long run.
“That was encouraging, but today is only practice, so we need to keep our heads down and work hard to see if tomorrow we can confirm the pace of today.”