Returning to the scene of three of his 32 F1 race wins, Fernando Alonso has vowed to get the “absolute maximum” out of his Honda-powered MCL32 in Bahrain.
The double World Champion heads to the kingdom without a single point to his name despite running inside the top-ten in Australia and China.
In both grands prix Alonso was forced to retire with his latest DNF due to a broken drive shaft.
The Spaniard, though, is hoping that his pace from China can translate into a “good surprise” in Bahrain.
He said: “On the performance side, before retiring the car in Shanghai I was running in a very promising position, and our pace was much stronger than anticipated, so I’ll be pleased if we can have some more good surprises in Bahrain!
“It will be another challenging race for us; the long straights don’t make it easy and there’s a lot for the engineers to work on.
“Brake wear and fuel consumption is high, and set-up is tricky as the track temperatures change a lot during the weekend, as we race later into the evening compared to the usual schedule.
“I’m pushing hard to get the absolute maximum out of our package every time I leave the garage, and in Bahrain I’ll approach the weekend in exactly the same way.”
The McLaren driver holds the record for the most wins at the Bahrain circuit with three to his name having triumphed in 2005, ’06 and ’10.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Bahrain, especially as I missed last year’s race – I have good memories from my three victories there, and racing in twilight is always a fun experience,” he added.
“The Bahrain Grand Prix is always a pretty long race, so our first priority is to ensure we have reliability against the heat and harsh conditions of the desert before we can start thinking about performance.”