Jenson Button says that 10th place was the best result possible for McLaren during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, admitting that he couldn’t have gone any quicker.
The Brit felt much happier with the balance of his car going in to the qualifying hour. He managed to make it through Q1 and Q2, even feeling confident enough to stay in the pits for the final runs in the first session, before setting the 10th fastest time in Q3.
Speaking about his qualifying session he said: “In Q3 at Suzuka you want to go out and have fun – which is exactly what I did. I couldn’t have gone any quicker. I did three laps in Q2 and Q3 that were almost identical, so I think P10 was as good as our car could get here today. There wasn’t any more time left out on the track, but it was fun trying to find it.”
He believes that tyre degradation is not too much of a concern going in to tomorrow’s race and is looking to make progress, although he admits that doing so will be tough: “Looking forward to tomorrow’s grand prix, I think it’s going to be a different sort of race to those we’ve experienced recently, because the tyre degradation is more reasonable here than it’s been in previous races. Actually, I think both compounds are working well here. I’m really looking forward to the race, and hopefully we’ll be able to make progress and bag a decent haul of points. It’s going to be tough out there though – but that’s why we enjoy this sport.”
Team-mate Sergio Perez narrowly missed out on joining Button in Q3 but had to settle for 11th place. The Mexican was hugely frustrated to miss out on the top 10 shoot-out, particularly by the margin that he lost out by: “It was frustrating to miss out on Q3 by the smallest of margins. It was extremely close: my first set of tyres in Q2 were the Options I’d run during Q1 when we’d aborted because of the red flag. That meant my reference for my second Q2 run wasn’t ideal as I didn’t really know where the track was going.”
However Perez, who had to change his chassis after damaging his previous one on Friday, feels that he is in with a chance of making progress during the race: “To miss out by just over tenth wasn’t ideal but, on the other hand, I think we’re in a good position to score points tomorrow.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic