Jenson Button is “puzzled” by his drop in pace between third practice and qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Brit dropped out of the second session and will line up for tomorrow’s race in 13th place.
It was a session of mixed fortunes for the McLaren duo with Button exiting the second session and Perez setting the ninth fastest time in the top 10 shoot-out. Button was confident of making Q3 after Friday practice but was left disappointed.
“Today’s Q2 was a puzzling session,” he said. “I think we struggled to get the tyres working because of the cooler temperatures – I had to take so much rear wing off to try to help balance the car, but it wasn’t enough. We were maxed-out on the front wing, too. There wasn’t anything else I could have done with the car to help the front end, since we were already running very low downforce on the rear – as could be seen by our straightline speeds.”
He added: “It’s quite frustrating, because in FP3 this afternoon we looked really promising – sixth quickest – and the car felt very good.”
Team-mate Sergio Perez made it through to the final session but his lap was only good enough for ninth. The Mexican feels seventh was possible but was pleased with his performance: “The car felt great today. If we’d found a couple of extra hundredths, we might even have been seventh – it was achievable.
“It was important to stay calm after a disappointing FP3. I think we’ve made the right steps forward for the race, particularly as we knew how much the track would change from the afternoon into the evening – we reacted well. Overall, it’s been a weekend of improvement for the team, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes points are possible for both drivers in the race. “Tomorrow, as we’ve seen them do many times before, both Jenson and Checo will surely race hard and well, and will be aiming to score as many points as possible in an effort to consolidate our position in the constructors’ world championship,” he said.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic