McLaren may have set the pace at Sepang on Friday but their team boss has warned against writing off their rivals, saying Mercedes and Red Bull look strong.
In what proved to be the battle of the Mercedes-powered cars, Lewis Hamilton set the pace in FP2, edging out Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg.
The chasing trio were not that far off the pace as Rosberg in fourth was only half a second behind the leading McLaren.
Martin Whitmarsh, though, is adamant Mercedes won't be McLaren's only rival as he reckons reigning World Champions Red Bull Racing have yet to show their hand.
"I think Mercedes look very strong and I don't think we've seen the best of Red Bull Racing just yet - as usual, we expect them to be competitive," Whitmarsh said.
"However, we weren't too displeased with today's running - relative performance doesn't look too different from what we saw in Melbourne.
"We feel reasonably competitive - our car seems to respond well to changes and it's predictable, too. Both Jenson and Lewis found the car to be generally consistent despite the gusty conditions, but Sepang is a much more challenging circuit than Albert Park so we'll carry on working to improve the balance for qualifying tomorrow.
"I think we're in for an exciting Championship - a number of teams look extremely competitive and we're going to have another close race this weekend."
But while the race may be close, McLaren at least begun their weekend with back-to-back P1s as Hamilton was quickest in both Friday sessions.
"It's been a good day for me," he said. "We've made a few changes to the balance of the car since the last race and I'm much happier - but we'll still be making changes to improve our long-run pace, which can always be better.
"I'm working as hard as I can to have as good a qualifying set-up as my race set-up and I think we've got a bit more of an understanding of how the car works on heavy fuel.
"I went wide a couple of times on my long run in P2, and looking after the tyres will be a tough call in the race - so it's all about finding the right balance.
"Around here, overtaking will be a little more possible than in Melbourne. Nevertheless, starting from the front will still be the best position for the race, and that's what I'll be going for tomorrow.
"We've got to keep pushing, stay hydrated and remain focused - there's a lot of hard work ahead."