Button, McLaren: “F1 midfield is there for the taking”

“We haven’t come here with a second of lap time because that just doesn’t happen in Formula 1 these days, even when you started where we did,” said the 2009 world champion.

“But there’s a good chunk – we’ve upgrades with the power unit, upgrades aerodynamically with the car, but also mechanically there are a few things as well. It’s a good amount.

“It’s getting to a point where it’s a lot more difficult to have the same amount of progress percentage-wise. “But the middle pack is very close and for the taking, so I’m looking forward to that challenge again this weekend.”

However, Button conceded that the team is likely to have to rely on rivals making mistakes if it is to score its first points of the campaign.

“It depends on what other people do,” he said. “If every other car on the grid has a good weekend then it’s going to be very difficult to score points.

“If we get our weekend together and they don’t, yeah, there is a good chance of scoring points. But if we score a point we are not going to be jumping up and down for joy, that’s not the aim. It’s more the gap to the points that’s important for us.”

Alonso said McLaren needs “a small step” to move into points-scoring contention but he echoed Button’s sentiments that simply scoring points isn’t enough.

“In Bahrain we had a nice step and that brought us closer to the Q3 cut-off and also to the points and we need another small step to reach that goal,” said Alonso. Obviously it’s not what we want, we want to be on the podium and win races, but one step at a time and hopefully here in Barcelona we can see this step. But we need to see what the others are bringing here to this race.”