Former World Champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton led a McLaren one-two as the duo set the pace in the second practice session ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
The performance has brought relief to the British team, whose pre-season campaign was fraught with pace and reliability issues, with the two drivers raising concerns about the new challenger, the MP4-26.
Button beat Hamilton by 0.132 seconds in setting the quickest lap of one minute 25.854 seconds at Melbourne's Albert Park.
While not much can be read into practice times, the Britons looked optimistic after dealing with the car's exhaust system problems for several weeks.
"For the first time this year nothing has gone wrong, which is great, and now we have to build on that," said Button.
"We have reliability, which is something we haven't had all winter, so to finally have a car in which we can do as many laps as we want is great.
"The feeling is so much better, the car feels a lot more complete, one that we can really make some progress with.
"So I'm very happy with how hard the guys have worked and what they have brought to this race because in testing it was looking pretty tough for us.
"They've brought something here that's good, we don't know how good yet, but whatever happens this weekend we should be very happy with the step forward we have made."
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