McLaren's Lando Norris played down his P3 performance in FP2, insisting his MCL35 was "a long way off " before its run on the soft tyre.
Norris popped up to third on the timing screens in the closing minutes of the afternoon session thanks to a late charge, 0.803s adrift from Mercedes pace-setter Valtteri Bottas.
“P3 in practice doesn’t mean anything," insisted the Briton. "But it gives us a little bit of confidence, but before everyone did a soft run we were still quite a long way off."
Norris said the Algarve's circuit's tarmac coupled with the disruptions that marked FP2 had made life difficult in the afternoon.
"The tarmac and temperatures here make it quite tricky to get everything in the right window, which makes the car balance quite tricky as well," he explained.
"It’s been very difficult to put a lap together, due to the disrupted sessions with the red flags and traffic at such a short circuit.
"Those factors, in combination, have made it a very difficult day to achieve a good balance. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow and hopefully we can be a little bit confident and do a better job."
McLaren teammate Carlos Sainz was also unkeen to jump to any positive conclusions based on the papaya squad's position in the pecking order of what he called a 'scrappy' day.
"Not very realistic [McLaren's position] because as you see a lot of people did not put their laps together.
"Everyone is struggling out there with the grip, and the Pirelli test going on, so it is going to be an interesting day tomorrow. I feel like we know very little."