Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button say they are optimistic about McLaren's chances in the fifth round of the F1 season this weekend in Barcelona.
The pair were unable to match the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari in the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul with Hamilton the higher placed of the pair but in only fourth place.
Admitting that the team hadn't performed to its full potential in the first European event of the season, Hamilton said he was hopeful that McLaren will be back on form in Spain.
“Barcelona has traditionally been the start of Formula 1's European season, and we're optimistic that we'll once again be back in the fight for the big points this weekend,” he said. “I think we didn't meet our full potential in Turkey last week, and I'm hoping that the MP4-26 will be able to make a step forward if our initial testing on Friday goes successfully.”
Hamilton added that he was interested to see how the Drag Reduction System would influence the racing action in Barcelona.
“Typically, it's been very tough to overtake at Barcelona because the best opportunity – into the first corner – is too fast to make a pass stick,” he said. “It's always been too hard to really get alongside another driver into the corner.
“But we benefited from two great races in China and Turkey because the DRS area led directly into a heavy braking zone, meaning it was possible to get two bites of the cherry: using the slipstream and using the braking zone. In Barcelona, it's likely to be less clear-cut.”
Team-mate Button meanwhile said he was heading into the Spanish weekend keen to see the progress made since pre-season testing at the Catalunya circuit, when the MP4-26 was well off the pace of its rivals.
“After a relatively low-key race for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team in Turkey, I think we're headed to Spain and Monaco feeling more positive about getting the most from our planned upgrades,” he said. “Turkey showed us that we are still on a learning curve with these Pirelli tyres, and while in Turkey it was a hard lesson to lose position due to strategy, I think it's given us a lot of valuable lessons in how to work as a team, how to devise our strategy and how to get the most from the tyres out on the track.
“I think Barcelona will be interesting. Personally, it will feel strange to go back to a track where we had a difficult winter and to drive a car that will hopefully allow us to once again race at the front.”