Fernando Alonso says Renault is back in the hunt after qualifying a highly competitive second, following a huge overnight effort by his team to build a new double-decker diffuser in to his car.
The double world champion paid tribute to the Renault team who flew out new parts and worked through Friday evening to rebuild his R29 in time for the race. He then concluded that his chances had been transformed by the changes.
"If you add any new part to the car it makes a big difference in terms of position and we proved it today," he said. "The team did improve the car and suddenly we are competitive.
"We need to see tomorrow with the fuel loads, but we went into Q3 more or less comfortable and that is something new that we didn't have in the first two races."
Alonso added that he felt he owed his mechanics a debt for their hard work and this had motivated him further to perform for them in qualifying.
"I think it has been a strange weekend for us, with a completely new car this morning and we only completed three laps this morning (in practice), so we arrived in qualifying with some doubts," he said. "A blind qualifying for us because we didn't know how the car would respond, but we are extremely happy with this result.
"It is a big motivation for the whole team because we have been working flat out for the last three or four weeks.
"Last night, I think it was the same for many teams, the guys only slept one or two hours and after this enormous job you have to deliver when you are in the car. You cannot make a mistake or do anything wrong. I am happy with performance today and that is thanks to the big effort by the team."
Alonso added that Renault's decision not to use KERS in China was part of an on-going evaluation of the technology.
"I think we did some more analysis to see how the device works in some circuits and we saw that it was time to do a real test (without it)," he said. "And also we had some concerns, we had problems in Malaysia with the rain, it was some water in the system and we know it is not ideal in terms of safety.
"So for safety reasons and just to do a test we are with no KERS this race."