“Today showed that, first of all, we’ve got reliability – which is great. That’s something we’ve not had all winter, so to have a car that runs for as many laps as we want it to is very satisfying. It also means we can get stuck into our set-up work and improve the car.
“I don’t think there’s much to be gained from looking at today’s times though, so I’m not going to get too carried away. Still, it’s been a positive day because we’ve been able to do so much running and get a good feeling for the car on different fuel-loads.
“The new exhaust has definitely brought performance to the car – it feels much better, makes the handling more ‘complete’. When you have downforce at the rear, you can also add it at the front, and then you put temperature in the tyres – there’s so much that comes with downforce.
“I’m so happy with how hard the guys have worked and what they’ve brought to this race – they’ve worked really hard and they’ve delivered something good here. We don’t yet know how good, but we’re encouraged by the step we’ve made today.”
P1 programme 26 laps 1m28.483s (+.1.652s) 7th
P2 programme 31 laps 1m25.986s (+0.132s) 2nd
“The car feels like an improvement over winter testing, but I’m not reading too much into the others’ performance. We just spent the day focusing on our own programme. The tyres are behaving very well; they don’t feel like they’re degrading, and they’re lasting well, too.
“Hopefully we can pick up some points this weekend – I feel positive. The grip level today felt like a big step forward. We don’t know what fuel loads the others are running, but our car feels like a big improvement from where we were just a few weeks ago.
“And that’s simply a result of hard work: all the men and women back at the factory and at the track this weekend have done a fantastic job. It’s difficult to gauge how different our car is, but there’s more downforce, which is something we’re always asking for.
“This is a major positive. Our initial feeling is that the car is good, but we’ll need to see tomorrow – still, I think we’re in the hunt for some points.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Today was a good, solid day. Both our drivers performed very well, and we got a lot of work done. The Pirelli tyres exceeded expectations in terms of reliability, and we were thereby able to complete some good long runs and collate plenty of useful data and info.
“We ran a brand-new floor and a brand-new exhaust today, and it’s always nice to bring new parts to a circuit and see them deliver what you’d expected. Today we saw that: a decent correlation from simulator to racetrack.
“But you don’t get any points on Fridays – so, although it’s always pleasing to see your cars finish first and second in any session, we won’t be counting our chickens before they’re hatched. All I’ll therefore say now is that today was an encouraging day: we’re going in the right direction, and we’re hoping to continue in that direction in our efforts to strive to find further improvements overnight.”