Fernando Alonso believes McLaren will be able to race with the teams ahead of it in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
While only Jenson Button started the Australian Grand Prix, aside from an early scrap with Sergio Perez the McLaren lapped alone and ended the race two laps adrift of winner Lewis Hamilton. However, following a clear step forward in Malaysia, Alonso expects to be able to fight with the likes of Force India and Sauber at Sepang.
“The recovery has been a lot and if we can keep 1.6s every race I guess it’s going to be difficult because in three races we’re going to be on pole and that’s a little bit optimistic!” Alonso said.
“[Qualifying] was not the ideal lap, but we need to learn from these first days and from the mistakes. Hopefully I can put some good laps together tomorrow in the race and have some action. I think we can fight with some of the cars we have in front, so it’s going to be interesting.”
Team-mate Button agrees with Alonso that he should be in for a more entertaining race than two weeks ago in Australia.
“Qualifying’s behind us now, the race is tomorrow and looking at Friday our high fuel running was relatively good,” Button said. “I think we’re quite a bit closer to the cars in front which should make the race a lot more interesting for Fernando and myself.
“I had a pretty good feeling with the car so it’s a good step forward. It’s a bit of a snowball effect when you find more pace and more power with the PU in terms of fuel saving and what have you. So it’s helped us a lot in race trim, probably more than in qualifying so I look forward to a good race tomorrow.”
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