Jenson Button says he is relieved, rather than happy, to have secured seventh on the grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix after previously struggling to find the right set-up in practice.
The Brit made it safely through to the top 10 shoot-out, which was disrupted by a big crash for his team-mate Kevin Magnussen after rain at turn one took several drivers by surprise.
He was able to finish the final segment of qualifying in seventh place and was pleased to be close to Williams and Ferrari.
“I massively struggled in practice,” Button admitted. “It has been a tough weekend; I haven’t been able to extract the pace. It feels like it has been raining on top of my car all weekend.
“I’ve been round the houses in terms of set-up and in the end we have found the right direction. I think it shows that a lot of hard work does pay off in the end if you stay focused. Already in Q1 when I drove the car it felt like a big improvement already.
“Q2 wasn’t too bad, in seventh and it wasn’t a great lap either. We are on the right track, maybe with the mixed conditions we could have done a little bit better but it was completely dry at the end of Q3, so we couldn’t gain from that.
“To be that close to a Williams and starting behind the lead Ferrari is a relief more than happiness with the position we are in.”
Commenting on Magnussen’s crash, he added: “Yeah, I think a lot of us were surprised by the lack of grip. The problem is here, you come over the start/finish line and it drops down to turn one. As soon as you drop down, you can see that it looks a bit different. But that is very close to the braking point.
“I think we all tried to brake early but the problem is that when most of the circuit is dry, it is very difficult to stop yourself from trying to brake later. If you brake a little bit early, you cost yourself half a second and that is a massive amount in Q1. It is a real tricky balance. I was the first car on the scene when I saw Kevin locked up and went straight on.
“It is never nice to see a shunt like that. It was good to hear immediately that Kevin was okay; I radioed the team straight away. I saw from the TVs that he got hit in the head by the tyres as well. That is always normally the scariest thing when you see that in an incident. It is great to see that he is okay.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic