Fernando Alonso reflected on a "positive day" of Formula 1 practice in Malaysia after he managed to place above the Mercedes drivers in both FP1 and FP2, finishing P3 and P5 in the respective sessions.

Despite taking heart from the display, Alonso said he anticipated slipping backwards in the times tomorrow when the rest of the field shows its hand.

“I think it was a positive day. In the first session we tried the car to see if everything was working and we went out when the track was not so wet anymore, so we ended up third, which is always pleasant," Alonso said.

"Then, in the second session, the car handled also well in the dry, we didn’t have any issues to solve for tomorrow, so that’s always quite positive, so now we have to see what we can do. 

"For sure the two Mercedes, Force India and Renault will improve, for sure getting into Q3 will be hard, but we’ll try to be in the fight for the last positions into Q3. Let’s see what we can do."

Team racing director Eric Boullier credited the McLaren-Honda's competitiveness to new updates added to Alonso's car, but admitted the display was "a bit better than expected".

"Obviously he has a new package on the car, and we also did a performance run which I believe the other teams have not done this afternoon because of the rain this morning," Boullier said.

"As usual, it’s practice, so we don’t want to be champion of practice, we just do our own job and we are here to assess our car and do our own work."

Alonso echoed the need to continue work, as running had been curtailed in FP2 by Romain Grosjean's collision with a loose drain cover.

"We have to do good analysis tonight, because every run I did was with a different aero configuration and they all worked well. Tomorrow we’ll try to recover the time lost and do the long runs in FP3," he said.

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