It was an unpredictable first day of practice for McLaren-Honda driver Jenson Button on Thursday in Monaco, after both practice sessions were disrupted for the Brit by a dislodged drain cover that reared up and smashed into his car. The incident destroyed the front wing, floor and the majority of the right-front corner of the MP4-31, with Button luckily coming away unhurt from the bizarre encounter.
The 2009 world champion’s mechanics were able to rebuild the car ahead of the FP2 session in the afternoon, however Button was unhappy with the feeling of the MP4-31, and was unable to find the right balance throughout the day.
“The morning session was tough – we really struggled for grip – but started getting there in the afternoon.
“The day was made tougher for my side of garage by the drain cover, which came loose and broke through my front wing, front suspension, brake duct and floor. The mechanics did a great job to get the car ready for FP2, but we’ve still got a long way to go until we’re happy with our competitiveness.
“There’s still a big gap to the cars at the front, but we’ll do our best in qualifying and I hope we’ll be more competitive.”
Button did finish the days running in the top ten, but the stop-start nature of the two sessions did not help the squad’s programme, especially as the Brit had missed crucial track time following his morning incident. The Woking based squad are happy with the data collated across the two sessions however, and will evaluate ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session, where they are optimistic of being much stronger.