Fernando Alonso says he hopes McLaren can get both cars in the top 10 in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit.
The Spaniard easily made it through to the second qualifying session but was the fourth driver to be eliminated in the new format and will start 12th.
“The car was fantastic today,” he said. “I felt very comfortable and very happy with the performance of the car all weekend.
“We were more competitive than we anticipated, have some new things coming for in the next few races, and we’re looking to be stronger in the future.
“Because we’d used two sets of super-softs in Q1 – where I finished third – we only had one chance to run in Q2. On my first run I felt competitive, I was 10th, running under the same conditions and on the same rubber as everyone else; I was only 1.2s off the Mercedes, which was a nice surprise, but then I had to sit in the garage and watch how qualifying developed, which was a bit sad.
“Tomorrow will be interesting – hopefully we can get both cars into the points.”
Button qualified 13th and added: “Twelfth and 13th on the grid is slightly better than we expected before we came here. The car didn’t feel too bad.
“Winter testing was positive in terms of mileage, but less so in terms of pace, so we’re all positively surprised with how close we were to Williams and Force India.
“I actually believe we have a better race car than a qualifying car – which is a turnaround from last year – and our deployment is almost as good as anybody else’s, which will benefit us more in the races.”