Jenson Button feels McLaren are in “reasonable shape” this weekend after finishing eighth and seventh in Friday’s practice sessions for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, despite losing time due to a sensor failure.
The Brit is happy with how his car feels on both tyre compounds but had a “tricky” time on his long runs due to traffic and the loss of running in FP2 due to a sensor failure, which the team initially suspected to be a puncture.
Talking about his day at the office, he said: “It was a pretty good day in terms of understanding the car. Our direction with the set-up looks reasonably good, too. I also think both tyres are working reasonably well around here. I got my fastest lap on my first attempt on the Option tyre, which most people didn’t, so I’m quite happy about that.”
He added: “My long runs proved quite tricky, however – first, because of traffic, and, second, because I was delayed by an issue that we initially thought was a puncture but that actually turned out to be a sensor failure. As a result, I had to drive slowly back to the pits, after which I lost a lot of track time because we had to replace some parts on the car that had got a bit warm during that slow lap. Still, all in all, I think we’re in reasonable shape here.”
Team-mate Sergio Perez is feeling confident and comfortable in the car after two useful practice sessions at the Yas Marina Circuit. He finished the first session in 10th before rising to sixth in second in the evening, under the floodlights.
He doesn’t think too many set-up changes will be needed overnight: “This was a productive day for the whole team – I felt really comfortable with the car in both sessions, and really enjoyed my time on the track today. I feel happy with my car, and I don’t expect to change too much. Normally, we change quite a lot on the car between Friday and Saturday in order to refine the balance and set-up, but I don’t think we’ll be doing too much of that tonight.”
The Mexican has his eyes firmly set on a space in the top 10 shoot-out in qualifying: “The Option tyre is performing quite a lot better than it was in India. While I think we feel more comfortable with the softer tyre, it’ll still be difficult to make a one-stop strategy work on Sunday. Tomorrow, I’d like to see us get into Q3.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic