Jenson Button says his McLaren MP4-31 is feeling better to drive in Bahrain than it was in Australia - but insists the team still needs to find speed on harder tyres.
Button was one of the stars of Friday's running at Sakhir, finishing second practice an impressive third behind the two Mercedes drivers.
Asked after the session whether his FP2 pace was a reason to get excited for the grand prix ahead, the Briton said: "We don't really know yet. It's only practice but it was a lot more fun than normal.
"FP1 [where Button finished P14] was the same - second run in FP1 we ran higher fuel, so couldn't really get a reasonable laptime, but I think it would've been equally competitive.
"The balance is reasonable, the car is feeling nice around here, definitely better than Melbourne. No problems today either, reliability-wise, everything was good - and it's fun to have a car that's enjoyable to drive.
"Positive day, still a lot of work to do tomorrow on the long runs, especially on the harder compounds - and I'm sure the other cars will be more competitive tomorrow, but we were third-quickest today and that's a positive."
Vandoorne fitting in well
Button also complimented grand prix debutant Stoffel Vandoorne, who is filling in for the injured Fernando Alonso as the Briton's teammate.
Vandoorne was 18th in FP1 and 11th in FP2, finishing the day seventh tenths behind Button.
"He's done a really good job today, his [FP2] lap would've been a lot better than it looked," said Button.
"He's fitted in as you would expect, a very talented driver. So we'll see what we can do as a team tomorrow."
Additional reporting by Adam Cooper