World Champion Lewis Hamilton is dreaming of a front row start at the Hungarian Grand Prix, although the McLaren driver admits he will be happy by reaching Q3 tomorrow.
Hamilton continued to show McLaren has made huge progress since the introduction of new updates in Germany, the Briton topping the times in today's practice session in Hungary. Hamilton was delighted to be able to push his car hard and is now looking to enjoy a strong Saturday.
"We've refined the improvements we had at the Nurburgring and they seem to be working, but we've still got a lot of work to do to beat the Red Bulls particularly," said Hamilton. "Nevertheless, it's encouraging to be able to push the car – I'm happier with it than I've been all season."
He added: "The front row would be beautiful but, to be honest, I'm just aiming to get into Q3. The car is much more competitive – we've come from 2.5s off but we're still about four to five tenths off the leaders, so we've got to keep working to make that up before we can start thinking about winning."
He conceded, however, that there were still parts of the track that were difficult for him.
"Over the bumps and at the exits of corners: unlike the Red Bulls and the Brawns, we're just not able to get the power down as early as them," he said. "It's the speed out of the corners onto the straights where we lose out. Still, the guys at the factory have done an incredible job; I'm looking forward to seeing them next week, just to express how thankful I am for all the hard work they've been doing."
McLaren's strong day was completed by Heikki Kovalainen, who posted the second quickest time after having topped the time sheets in the morning session. Kovalainen is now using the same updates that Hamilton got in Germany, and he admitted they made a big difference.
"I've got the full upgrade package that Lewis raced at the Nurburgring and the car now feels much better to drive," said the Finn. "We've got a new floor, new front wing, updated bodywork and some small changes to the suspension. It's a big package – and I know how hard the team has worked to get everything here. There are still components arriving at the circuit today.
"The grip level is so much higher now. Stability under braking is much better, and the guys have done a fantastic job to improve the balance at the rear. We still have to keep working hard to make further improvements – but this is a great starting point."