Jenson Button ended the first day of pre-season testing with a smile on his face, having completed more running in a single day than McLaren managed across all four days of the first test last year.
The Brition might have only finished sixth fastest, 1.8 seconds down on Sebastian Vettel’s chart-topping time, but an 84-lap tally left Button with a positive outlook for the remainder of the test, particularly as Honda seems to have cured its ERS deployment issues which plagued the team last year.
“It is difficult to say [where we are] in terms of power because this won’t be the engine we take to the first race,” said Button. “The deployment is so much better. I don’t know if it is the same as the other guys have but it feels like it is. That is a big step for us.
“This isn’t a track where you struggle for deployment over one timed lap, but over a long run [last year] we were struggling massively and losing four or five tenths on a lap, whereas now we don’t so we have gained lap time back over a long run.
“It is much better, very easy to understand the deployment and to play with it and it listens to change which is good. It is good to see all the hard work over the winter has paid off.”