For the critics of the Woking team, a good dose of humble pie being forced fed to Big Ron, is always worth watching. Yet McLaren are no Red Bull Racing; and Ron Dennis is no Dietrich Mateschitz/Christian Horner.
Yes, Big Ron has made mistakes but with just 1 constructors’ championship in the past 17 years, we never heard any threats that the Woking team will quit the sport unless their ‘cost-benefit’ algorithm concludes with a thumbs up.
McLaren have been the source of much amusement over the past months. Their on track lack of performance combined with a 1980’s Ferrari-esque reliability has led many to believe Big Ron and the team from Woking are about to have another year to forget – and probably before it really begins.
Yet in FP2 today, there was a much improved performance from the MP4-30/Honda combo.
Jenson Button was 8th in the distance completed table, with 29 laps under his belt and a 10th quickest time of 1:39:275. This was just 2.056 seconds off the pace of the fastest man – Lewis Hamilton.
FP2 is often more about long run simulations than fastest laps, yet the like for like comparison over the first three FP2 sessions of the season is worthy of note.
In Australia, the Jenson Button was the best placed McLaren in FP2 with just 21 laps and a gap to the quickest time set by Nico Rosberg of 3.690 seconds.
Then FP2 in Malaysia Fernando Alonso managed a best time, 2.716 seconds behind Hamilton who was quickest. Alonso clocked up 25 laps.
It may be crumbs of comfort for McLaren devotees, as their team languishes 9th in the constructors’ table at present, but the MP4-30 and its Honday 1.6l Turbo power unit is defiantly making good progress. Jenson was mixing it with the Sauber of Felipe Nasr today and was less than 0.5 seconds behind Danny Kvyat and Valterri Bottas.
Following the close of play on track, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso had this to say. “We don’t see ourselves in Q3.
“We were analysing the times and we know everybody uses a bit more power in qualifying and we won’t be doing that, so we’ll go back a bit, but Q2 is a real goal for this race.
“We are getting close to the midfield cars.
“We didn’t expect to take a big step forward here but it looks like we are still on the right path, so I’m doubly happy. I guess tomorrow will be a bit harder, but everything has gone as expected or even better.”