The Brit topped the second day of testing at the Jerez circuit, giving the new McLaren MP4-29 its on-track debut after he failed to run on Tuesday. His fastest time of 1m24.165 was set mid-way through the afternoon and on the slick tyres.
The track was damp when the teams arrived early in the morning to prepare for the day ahead, with Pirelli then deciding to artificially add water to the circuit to make conditions more suitable for wet-weather running. The weather improved over the course of the day, giving teams several hours of dry running at the end of the session.
“For our first day of actual running, we were able to get a good understanding of the car, and the way the engine and turbo behaves,” he said. “It’s tricky, and very different to what we’re used to, but I could feel that these cars will be enjoyable to drive.
“Of course, it’s still early days, and there’s a lot of work ahead of us. We need to work on both braking and traction; but that excites me, because there’s a lot of potential to adjust those parameters. The new braking system is very complicated, and getting it right will be tough.
“But these are all things we can work on: there’s nothing about the car that unsettles me, and there’s plenty of scope to explore the set-up. It will just take time.
“Our main aim this winter was to field a reliable car that would give us a good baseline. These cars will develop so much over the next few months, so it’s essential to have a solid base to build upon; and I think we have that good base.”
The team has changed their driver schedule, with Button also running in the car on Thursday morning before handing over driving duties to his rookie team-mate Kevin Magnussen at the “most convenient break in the programme.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic