Jenson Button has shared his optimism after Friday’s two 90 minute free practice sessions. Despite admitting that it will be the typical front running teams who set the pace, he feels that McLaren are “a little nearer to the front.”
The Brit finished the first session in second place before finishing just inside the top 10 in the afternoon session, however he lost crucial time due to a gearbox problem.
Speaking in a post-practice statement, Button shared his disappointment on losing practice time due to reliability: “We needed everything to be reliable today, but I only managed three laps on my high-fuel run before I had a problem with the gearbox. That was a pity because it meant we didn’t get the long-run information we were after.” The 33-year-old suffered a similar problem 12 months earlier where he had a “difficult race with rear graining.”
However he admitted that the team ran “a very different set-up” on each car and “gather lots of good information.” He added that the team will “go away and study” the data tonight ahead of free practice three and qualifying. The first session was disrupted by rain and Button is “hoping the conditions will stay mixed for tomorrow.”
Team-mate Sergio Perez revealed that he feels McLaren are “still lacking overall performance to the frontrunners; but anything can happen here, especially in the conditions we saw today, which were extremely varied.”
The Mexican shared Button’s view of hoping for a wet qualifying session because “everyone will go into Sunday without any proper long-running under their belts – that could make the race a big surprise for everybody.”
Perez finished the first session in eight place and the dry afternoon session just outside the top 10 in 12th.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic