Due to his more experienced team-mate losing a full day of track time on Tuesday, McLaren changed their Thursday schedule. Button completed running in the morning before handing the Mercedes-powered machine over to Magnussen for the afternoon session, where he eventually set the fastest time of the day.
The 21-year-old admits that it was an exciting day for him, as he tested the car that he will drive in his rookie season for the first time. “This was a big day for me,” he said. “I had butterflies in my stomach and had trouble sleeping last night – I’m a rookie, and I was just excited to get in the car. Equally, however, this doesn’t feel like my first day at work: I know everybody at McLaren, so I really felt at home.”
Commenting on his days’ work, he added: “Happily, everything worked as it should, and the car felt good. I’m pretty pleased with our reliability – to have done as many laps as I did in just half a day was pretty positive.
“I’m not taking too much from the fact that I set the fastest time – I was pushing, but it wasn’t a balls-to-the-wall lap. We wanted to get good data and learn about the car, so I think everyone is pushing out there.
“Even so, I still think we can improve the car this week. And the most important thing is to understand how to improve things when we go away from here. I think we have a good idea of the direction to take.”
The 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 champion will have the MP4-29 all to himself on Friday, as the first winter test comes to a close.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic