Will Stevens is confident he and Manor F1 will comfortably qualify for the Malaysian Grand Prix as the team made its first track appearance of the 2015 season at Sepang.

An updated version of its 2014 machine - complete with last year's specification Ferrari engine -, Manor accumulated 34 laps between Stevens and Roberto Merhi over the course of the day, with the former ending FP2 a respectable 5.9secs off the overall pace.

Though this still leaves Manor 2.8secs adrift of its nearest competitor, Stevens was one second inside the 107 per cent qualifying rule, a hurdle he was not originally convinced he would surpass. However, given the rate of improvement he expects to get from a car that has only just turned a wheel, he is certain he will be on the grid come Sunday.

Related Articles

"Honestly, I didn't know what to expect coming here," he said. "We know most of the other guys have made a big step forward and we know roughly what we've got, so we needed to just get out and see what we had. To already be inside by a second when we have a lot of improving to do, we should be fine by qualifying.

"I have done 7 or 8 flying laps, so in terms of learning a new car and a new circuit, I can make massive differences. The first priority was to make no mistakes and then to do a good job for the team and get some good data, which is exactly what we did, so overall it has been a good day."

Team-mate Merhi, meanwhile, is outside the 107 per cent rule, though he did miss much of the FP2 session after spinning into the gravel trap.