Date:Friday April 15 2011
Going into this season, many thought that McLaren would have to play catch up during the early part of the season due to their poor winter testing session and that really hasn't changed, the only surprise element is they are already ahead of the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari, something which didn't look possible when the teams packed up their belongings in Barcelona last month.
McLaren may have made huge strides, but to take it forward, they now need to make the next step which is to challenge the Red Bull's and in particular 2010 World champion Sebastian Vettel.
China had hoped to be a race which McLaren could take it to Red Bull, McLaren were bringing another upgrade package to Shanghai, while Red Bull appeared to be having issues with their KERS device.
The gap looked like it could become closer from last week in Malaysia and McLaren driver Jenson Button was confident the team would enjoy a good weekend when speaking at Thursday's press conference.
'In terms of fine-tuning the car, hopefully we will get a bit closer this weekend, When we were testing in Malaysia we were making changes and it was making a massive difference in terms of lap time and consistency.
'I think we probably can make more headway with Red Bull Racing, because of not really knowing completely our car and not having the perfect set-up over the last couple of races.
'We have some updates here. I don't know if Red Bull Racing has, it is difficult to know, but I think you will also see a couple of other teams quick here. Button told Autosport Magazine before adding: if we get a nice clean race start then I think we can have a fun race and the pace will be quite similar [to Red Bull].'
Fast forward 24 hours and once again the reining F1 champ was on top of the time sheets for Red Bull for both practice sessions.
In FP1 the McLaren's were 2 seconds behind Vettel and Webber, while in FP2 the gap was a lot closer, but the race pace speed appears to give the Red Bull's a clear advantage over their rivals going into the weekend.
'We had a good day, but it's only Friday and so it's early in the race weekend.
'We found a good rhythm and we're happy with the car. There's still a lot to do and I think it will be tight in qualifying and the race, so we'll look where we can improve.' Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel told the BBC after Friday's two practice sessions.
The session left Button clearly frustrated, with all the optimism from Thursday regarding the new upgrades and closing the gap to Vettel gone from memory: 'I'll be surprised if we can fight for pole position in qualifying as they look very fast.
'The car is still a good car to drive but we didn't improve the balance and we will look at why the changes we made didn't give us the improvement. '
McLaren may well choose to not run with the upgrades they brought to China, with both Button and team-mate Lewis Hamilton not happy with the changes.
'I don't think it's as good as [what] we had before.' Hamilton added. 'In the afternoon we chose to go with the upgrade we had but I've been really struggling with the balance so I don't know if it's the upgrade.
'I was able to get a reasonable lap time but I wasn't comfortable in the car.'
Can McLaren recover in time to make Sunday's race entertaining? Or will Vettel dominate once more? Join the debate on our VitalF1.com Forum.
Date:Friday April 15 2011
Pirelli announce driver selections for Austria (Tuesday June 28 2016)
F1 Prediction Comp - Open for round 9 (Monday June 27 2016)
Who will win in Austria? (Monday June 27 2016)
Sainz expected to stay with Red Bull stable (Friday June 24 2016)
F1 musical chairs begins (Thursday June 23 2016)
Title looking good for Rosberg says Hamilton (Wednesday June 22 2016)
Williams hunting down new pit-stop record (Tuesday June 21 2016)
Are F1 radio regulations to restrictive? (Tuesday June 21 2016)
Championship push back on track for Rosberg (Monday June 20 2016)
Blog: European GP Report (Monday June 20 2016)
2016 European Grand Prix - Race (Sunday June 19 2016)
Blog: Baku Qualifying (Saturday June 18 2016)
2016 European Grand Prix - Qualifying (Saturday June 18 2016)
2016 European Grand Prix - FP3 (Saturday June 18 2016)
2016 European Grand Prix - FP2 (Friday June 17 2016)
2016 European Grand Prix - FP1 (Friday June 17 2016)
Hamilton expects to be hit by Joker card (Thursday June 16 2016)
Pirelli reveal Baku tyre choices (Wednesday June 15 2016)
Williams looking forward to Azerbaijan (Wednesday June 15 2016)
Rosberg was p***** off (Tuesday June 14 2016)
Ferrari split on tyre strategy call (Tuesday June 14 2016)
Hamilton is keeping his head down and pushing (Tuesday June 14 2016)
F1 Prediction Comp open for round 8 (Monday June 13 2016)
Who will win in Baku? (Monday June 13 2016)
Blog: Canadian GP Report (Monday June 13 2016)
2016 - Canada GP - Race (Sunday June 12 2016)
Blog: Montreal Qualifying (Sunday June 12 2016)
2016 Canada GP - Qualifying (Sunday June 12 2016)
2016 Canada GP - FP3 (Saturday June 11 2016)
2016 Canada GP - FP2 (Saturday June 11 2016)
2016 Canada GP - FP1 (Saturday June 11 2016)
McLaren to benefit from new Honda turbo (Friday June 10 2016)
Ericsson & Nasr at breaking point? (Thursday June 9 2016)
Blog: Montreal Preview (Wednesday June 8 2016)
Ferrari spend three engine tokens on new turbo (Wednesday June 8 2016)
Red Bull & Renault agree new deal! (Wednesday June 8 2016)
A positive step for Red Bull Racing (Tuesday June 7 2016)
Ferrari considering engine upgrade for Canada (Tuesday June 7 2016)
Intriguing tyre selections for Canada (Monday June 6 2016)
F1 Prediction Comp open for round 7 (Monday June 6 2016)
Who will win in Canada? (Monday June 6 2016)
More criticism for Kvyat (Thursday June 2 2016)
Rosberg had no hesitation to pull over says Wolff (Wednesday June 1 2016)
Grid penalties in Canada for Kvyat & Ericsson (Tuesday May 31 2016)
Ricciardo screwed for second week running (Monday May 30 2016)
Cream always rises to the top - Hamilton wins (Monday May 30 2016)
Blog: Monaco GP Report (Sunday May 29 2016)
2016 Monaco GP - Race (Sunday May 29 2016)
Blog: Monaco Qualifying (Saturday May 28 2016)
2016 Monaco GP - Qualifying (Saturday May 28 2016)
2016 Monaco GP - FP3 (Saturday May 28 2016)
2016 Monaco GP - FP2 (Thursday May 26 2016)
2016 Monaco GP - FP1 (Thursday May 26 2016)
Blog: Monaco Preview (Thursday May 26 2016)
Pirelli announce tyre selections for Monaco (Wednesday May 25 2016)
F1 teams cover good mileage in test (Tuesday May 24 2016)
F1 Prediction Comp open for round 6 (Monday May 23 2016)
Who will win in Monaco? (Monday May 23 2016)
Arrivabene receives vote of confidence (Friday May 20 2016)
Magnussen penalised for collision with team-mate (Thursday May 19 2016)
Merc boss declares neither driver at fault (Wednesday May 18 2016)
Red Bull threw Ricciardo's win away (Tuesday May 17 2016)
Lauda slams Hamilton (Tuesday May 17 2016)
Seven score race wins in Spain (Tuesday May 17 2016)
Stars align to gift Verstappen maiden F1 win (Monday May 16 2016)
Mercedes duo crash (Monday May 16 2016)
Blog: Spanish GP Report (Sunday May 15 2016)
2016 Spain GP - Race (Sunday May 15 2016)
Blog: Barcelona Qualifying (Saturday May 14 2016)
2016 Spain GP - Qualifying (Saturday May 14 2016)
2016 Spain GP - FP3 (Saturday May 14 2016)
2016 Spanish GP - FP2 (Friday May 13 2016)
2016 Spanish GP - FP1 (Friday May 13 2016)
Haas and Sauber get new Ferrari engines (Thursday May 12 2016)
Blog: Barcelona Preview (Wednesday May 11 2016)
Renault have big plans for Spain (Wednesday May 11 2016)
Pirelli announce driver tyre choices for Spain (Tuesday May 10 2016)
F1 Prediction Competition open for round 5 (Monday May 9 2016)
Who will reign in Spain? (Monday May 9 2016)
McLaren are making solid progress (Friday May 6 2016)
Sainz believes penalty was harsh (Friday May 6 2016)
2016 has lacked ultimate thrill for Rosberg (Thursday May 5 2016)
Red Bull Racing dump Kvyat and promote Verstappen (Thursday May 5 2016)
Bottas content with Russia finish (Thursday May 5 2016)
Hamilton braced for further penalties (Wednesday May 4 2016)
What was Sebastian to do? Fly? (Wednesday May 4 2016)
The messiest start of Kvyat's career (Tuesday May 3 2016)
Ecclestone fires warning shot to teams (Tuesday May 3 2016)
Hamilton in 'no doubt' he could have won in Russia (Monday May 2 2016)
Rosberg record setting in Russia (Monday May 2 2016)
Russian roulette (Monday May 2 2016)
Blog: Russian GP Report (Monday May 2 2016)
2016 Russia GP - Race (Sunday May 1 2016)
2016 Russia GP - Qualifying (Saturday April 30 2016)
2016 Russia GP - FP3 (Saturday April 30 2016)
2016 Russia GP - FP2 (Saturday April 30 2016)
2016 Russia GP - FP1 (Friday April 29 2016)
Hamilton has one eye on retirement (Friday April 29 2016)
Horner praise for Renault (Thursday April 28 2016)
Booth returns to Formula One (Thursday April 28 2016)
|7.||Push The Button||477|