Alonso enjoys progress as Button hits more trouble

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuitbh

McLaren's Fernando Alonso made it through to Q2 for the first time this season, making him feel optimistic about the team's progress. On the other side of the garage things were less positive as Button hit more trouble and will be last on the Bahrain GP starting grid.

Fernando Alonso, MP4-30-03, 14th: “This weekend has been a nice surprise so far – and the car felt better again today. We’ve made a step forward, performance-wise; everything appears to be going in the right direction.

“Of course, we’ll never be happy that our qualifying effort ran out in Q2, but it’s a step forward, and the whole team will and should enjoy this result because they’ve been working so hard to achieve it.

“Tomorrow will be about finishing the race and getting both cars to the flag. We’ve had some problems with reliability this weekend, with Jenson’s car, so we need to keep improving in that area. We’ll need a bit of luck if we’re to score points tomorrow.”

Jenson Button, MP4-30-01, No time (stopped at Turn 3): “Well, FP3 was pretty good, especially after yesterday’s limited running. And then, in quali, I don’t really know what happened; it felt a bit similar to what occurred on Friday morning when everything shut down on the car. There was a loud bang, so I pulled over and got out.

“We’ve had quite a few issues this weekend, but the important thing is that we’re improving. Fernando got through to Q2, which is a good step for the team, and it’s just a pity I couldn’t be there as well.

“We knew it was going to be a hard start to the year, and it has been, but, even so, there are more positives than we thought there would be.

“Looking ahead to tomorrow, our race pace is likely to be not too bad. So hopefully we can sort out our reliability glitches ahead of tomorrow and have a decent race.”

Eric Boullier, Racing director, McLaren-Honda: “Today, sadly, again, Jenson was afflicted by more than his fair share of reliability woes. As a result, he’ll start tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid, which is a great shame. Even so, he’ll be intending to push hard right from the start, and, reliability permitting, you can bet your bottom dollar that he’ll be aiming to force his way up the running order with composure and aplomb.

“Fernando’s P14 grid slot is nothing to write home about, but the fact that it represents our first Q2 appearance of the year is another sign of the sure, sound and steady progress we’ve been making. Formula 1 is an iterative business wherein results can be earned only by process-driven hard work – there’s no magic to it – and the improvements we’re seeing are the consequence of a huge amount of diligent toil by a large number of focused and talented people. Bravo, guys!"

Yashusa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer – chief officer of motorsport: “Since the Chinese Grand Prix, it has only been a short while, but I believe we have been able to progress the ERS to adapt to this track as efficiently as possible. This was clearly supported by the result of Fernando’s progression to Q2.

“It’s unfortunate that we could not get both cars through. The issue on Jenson's car is still under investigation, which we’ll try to do with the utmost urgency.”