Alonso eyes Q2 after 'amazing' McLaren progress

© XPB 

Fernando Alonso says "it is amazing what the team is doing" after McLaren made more progress during Friday practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Following the clear steps forward made by the team in Malaysia, McLaren was keen to play down its chances of a repeat at Shanghai. Despite the low expectations, Friday practice saw both cars running even more competitively as Jenson Button finished 10th in FP2 and Alonso 12th. While not targeting a top ten qualifying position on Saturday, the Spaniard has his sights set on a spot in Q2.

"We need to keep our feet on the ground and understand that, tomorrow, in qualifying, the others put some extra power as we saw in Australia and Malaysia," Alonso said. "I don’t think that Q3 is possible but Q2 is definitely the goal for tomorrow and finishing the race, maybe even close to the points, is also a goal. It was a very positive day and I’m very happy."

And Alonso says he is being motivated by the rapid progress McLaren is making, as he is already looking ahead to the coming races for more steps.

"It was a very positive Friday for us. We completed the programme with some aerodynamic parts in FP1, and some set-up changes in FP2, and, even if we didn’t bring a huge number of upgrades to the car, all of them are working as expected.

"The team is so focused, so determined to keep improving and it was a nice surprise to see the timed lap and see that I am running in the middle of the pack so just think, one month ago in Australia, we were 33secs off the [next] car, it is amazing what the team is doing and as drivers we are enjoying the process and don’t want to stop. We want to arrive in Bahrain soon, and Spain soon, and keep this progress."

By Chris Medland in Shanghai

Click here for Friday's gallery from the Chinese Grand Prix 

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