Though he insists only being P1 would ultimately 'excite' him, McLaren's Jenson Button admits it is positive to have more cars behind him than ahead of him following the first day of free practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Spearheading McLaren-Honda's strongest start to a race weekend yet, Button began the day well with a run to 13th place, but would go even better in FP2 to crack the top ten in tenth place.

Seemingly hauling McLaren into the mid-field hunt having struggled towards the back of the field in Australia and Malaysia, though Button played down the ultimate result and dismissed the suggestion it meant he would be challenging for Q3, he believes it is a precursor to at least getting into Q2 for the first time this year.

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"There's always the possibility of [making Q3] but I think Q2 is more realistic and, to be fair, Q2 or Q3 doesn't really excite me either way [because] we want to be at the front. It's more about what we achieve in terms of steps forward with the car and also the feeling of the car. The feeling is good but there is still room for improvement, and I am happy with the direction we are taking.

"We were in the top ten in practice, but it is still practice and, in qualifying, I am sure people will turn it up and go quicker. The important thing for us, as P10 or P14 doesn't really matter, is more the feeling for the car and the step forward that we make. We need to compare ourselves to the cars right at the front and the lap-time deficit there is probably the more important one."

Despite the cautious attitude, Button says he is relishing driving the MP4-30 this weekend and is looking forward to gauging the step forward in qualifying and the race.

"It's been fun to drive today - I've really enjoyed it... On low fuel, it's been much better than at the last two races, much better than Malaysia. High fuel has been a bit tricky for me today but hopefully we can solve that by Sunday.

"We seem reasonably good out there and [the car] is nice to drive, especially on the soft tyres. There is quite a lot of grip actually, so the car is performing reasonably well. There are weaknesses and areas to improve but it's nice to drive and I'm looking forward to driving it for the rest of the weekend.