Lewis Hamilton says he was happier than he had expected following Friday practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.
The world champion, who had fought at the top in the last two races, said earlier this week that he was not expecting McLaren to be able to be so strong at Spa due to the high-speed nature of the circuit.
But the Briton went quickest of all in the afternoon session today, topping the times ahead of Toyota's Timo Glock and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.
"I'm happier today than I expected," said Hamilton. "We don't have as much downforce as some of the other teams, so we're not as quick as we'd like to be, especially in the middle sector. Fortunately, however, we have KERS and can use it to our advantage in the first and third sectors.
"The car didn't feel fantastic today - but we only really had one session to find a set-up so we've got some changes to make overnight. Still, this is a massive improvement compared with Turkey or Silverstone, and we look competitive, which is important, so we're not unhappy."
Heikki Kovalainen conceded McLaren was still lacking downforce, but the Finn, 12th quickest, was also encouraged by the progress made.
"I think slower speed corners suit our car better than high-speed stuff," he said. "So I guess we are still losing a bit of time in the high-speed corners compared to the fastest cars. But we've definitely made some good improvements in this area and the car feels positive to drive and seems to be working quite well around here.
"We're in the hunt again, which is encouraging, and we're working on a strong strategy for the race. We should be able to fight for a good starting position in qualifying tomorrow."
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