McLaren duo encouraged by progress

By on Saturday, March 19, 2016
McLaren Honda

McLaren Honda

Fernando Alonso says McLaren can target a double points finish at the Australian Grand Prix after surprising itself with the level of performance from the MP4-31.

McLaren endured a dismal 2015 campaign but Alonso and Jenson Button collected 12th and 13th during qualifying at Albert Park, with the pair only a few tenths shy of the top 10.

"The car was fantastic today," said Alonso.

"I felt very comfortable and very happy with the performance of the car all weekend. We didn’t expect to be too fast here because our car is still limited in performance in certain areas.

"But we were more competitive than we anticipated, have some new things coming for in the next few races, and we’re looking to be stronger in the future.

"Tomorrow will be interesting – hopefully we can get both cars into the points."

Button reckons McLaren's MP4-31 is a better package in the race compared to over one lap.

"Winter testing was positive in terms of mileage, but less so in terms of pace, so we’re all positively surprised with how close we were to Williams and Force India," he said.

"I actually believe we have a better race car than a qualifying car – which is a turnaround from last year – and our deployment is almost as good as anybody else’s, which will benefit us more in the races."

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