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McLaren duo label Friday as positive

NEWS STORY
24/03/2017

Mat Coch writes

The opening day of the 2017 season was an easier one for McLaren, the squad having endured a nightmarish winter testing which saw it head to Melbourne with the least running of all teams on the grid.

Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne clocked up 84 laps between them around Albert Park, including an important long run for Vandoorne in the second session.

It wasn't entirely trouble free however, with the young Belgian delayed in the opening 90-minute session, however he still considers it a positive first day's running for the squad.

"We had a couple of minor issues but nothing radical, so I would say it was quite a good day for us," he said. "I felt pretty confident in the car and everything was going in the right direction and looking forward to tomorrow."

Team-mate Alonso however was less positive. While acknowledging that things were better than they'd been in winter testing the McLaren remained uncompetitive.

"We had some issues but I think in terms of the experience we had in winter testing let's say I would have less issues than in Barcelona so we were able to run a little bit more in FP1 and FP2," said the Spaniard.

"Thanks to that we struck a little bit of the potential of the car, but there is more to come, and we have to keep working because we are still quite far away in terms of lap time.

"We lost a lot of time on the track in Barcelona and today I think we recovered some of that time and we were able to test some of the new components were brought here. They're working here, so that's positive."

His frustration however is never far away, and when asked how he motivates himself to turn up each day he responded by claiming that he will "try to do miracles!

"I feel well prepared, I feel very fast, I am attacking the corners... When I run behind someone I catch them in the corners like 50 metres, and I lose 200 metres on the straights. It's very frustrating."

Alonso ended the day twelfth fastest with a best time of 1:26.000, more than two seconds adrift of pace-setter Lewis Hamilton's best efforts.

Check out our Friday gallery from Melbourne, here.

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