McLaren’s MP4-30 now, compared to pre-season testing in February, isn’t comparable according to Jenson Button on Friday, who described the difference as “night and day”.
The Briton posted the seventh fastest lap during second practice, just 1.6 seconds shy of Lewis Hamilton’s best time.
It comes amid a massive upgrade programme which has seen various changes to the aerodynamics, driveability and Honda power unit, which the team hope will allow it to score its first points of the season.
“You simply can’t compare the car I drove today to the car I last tested here back in February; the difference is night and day,” said Button.
“The last corner was easy-flat [in testing], whereas now it isn’t because of the extra grunt our Honda power unit is pushing out these days.”
However the 2009 champion says there is still a lot to be done to maximise their potential this weekend.
“There’s a lot of work for us to do in every area to optimise what we have, and also to figure out why the car is doing certain things on track.
“All in all, it’s been a positive but tough day in terms of putting miles on our components: for example, we tried three different front wings today – so the sessions were mainly about data collecting.
“There’s still plenty of room for improvement, so we need to properly study all the data tonight.”