Lewis Hamilton's morning laptime of 1:38.021s proved to be the best that anyone could manage all day on Friday, and the McLaren driver was happy with how things were looking for him going into the second Grand Prix of the season in Sepang, Malaysia.

"It's been a good day for me," he said. "We've made a few changes to the balance of the car since the last race and I'm much happier."

Hamilton started from pole position in Melbourne last weekend but then struggled during the race itself, and is keen to pick up the skills he feels he needs to make sure there's no repeat of that disappointment in Sepang.

"I think we've got a bit more of an understanding of how the car works on heavy fuel," he explained. "I went wide a couple of times on my long run in P2, and looking after the tyres will be a tough call in the race - so it's all about finding the right balance.

"We'll still be making changes to improve our long-run pace, which can always be better," he added. "We've got to keep pushing, stay hydrated and remain focused - there's a lot of hard work ahead."

That's not to say he doesn't want to claim a second consecutive pole position scalp this weekend, however.

"Around here, overtaking will be a little more possible than in Melbourne," he said. "Nevertheless, starting from the front will still be the best position for the race, and that's what I'll be going for tomorrow."

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh was typically understated in his analysis of how the day had gone for Lewis and the team.

"We feel reasonably competitive - our car seems to respond well to changes and it's predictable, too," he said, adding that both drivers had "found the car to be generally consistent despite the gusty conditions."

Hamilton's team mate Jenson Button had a frustrating start to the day when his car suffered an oil leak in the morning that meant an early end to his track time, but things were better in the later session.

"In the afternoon, I did some positive running on both tyre compounds," said Button. "I think we have a good understanding of the tyre. But it's going to be tough on both compounds around here with all the humidity and the heat.

"I think the race will be tough for all of us," he continued, adding that just like his team mate he had his eye on pole position to improve his chances: "you make your life a lot easier if you start from pole position.

"We want a good race car, but the aim for tomorrow is pole," he emphasised. "We're putting a lot of work into single-lap performance."

The team weren't quite saying it, but they were leaving a definite impression that anything less than the sight of another McLaren front-row for Sunday's race would be a bit of a disappointment.

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