• Malaysian GP - FP2

MP4-30 exceeds Alonso's expectations

Laurence Edmondson at Sepang
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After Friday practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso said his McLaren felt much better than he expected during his first run in the MP4-30 since pre-season testing.

Alonso was back behind the wheel of the McLaren on Friday at the Malaysian Grand Prix, the first time he has driven a Formula One car since his mysterious accident in late February. Although the car was off the pace, he believes the team has made big strides since the first race two weeks ago.

"[It was] much better," Alonso said. "The experience that we had in winter, it was a lot of problems after four or five laps, but today we ran 45 laps with zero problems, everything went as we predicted. We will see in qualifying, but I think we were 4.6secs behind pole position in Australia, here maybe we could be 3.5secs, so that is a 1sec or 1.5secs gain in two weeks, so a big step forward."

"There are a lot of things going on in the car now. There are big steps on aerodynamics, understanding of the power unit, interaction of everything in the car. Every lap is learning for us. In terms of driving, I felt great. The car is consistent and easy to drive and it gives you confidence to push to the limit. We had some issues on braking, with front and rear locking, and we are looking at this so tomorrow hopefully we can push more."

Alonso said his lack of track time this year meant he was not in perfect physical condition, but he still enjoyed driving the car.

"It felt great today in the car, finally after the gym, after the simulator, whatever you do it is not the same as the car, so I enjoyed so much driving here. The conditions are obviously extreme and very hot, so physically it is very demanding and I am not 100% physically and fit after two weeks on the sofa and then two weeks not in the car. It was really the second day of testing for me because I have one good day in Barcelona with 63 laps and then today with 45 laps. The rest of the days were 7, 9, 11 laps… so today I really enjoyed it. A step forward, a big step forward for us."

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