Button Pleasantly Surprised By McLaren Pace

Jenson Button is hopeful that McLaren are in for a more competitive weekend in Monte Carlo after a promising start to the weekend. The 2009 race winner was eighth quickest today but sees more signs to be optimistic in his race simulation on the super-soft tyres and believes the team are heading in the right direction with the MP4-28.

“We struggled in the morning when the circuit was still fairly ‘green’ – we couldn’t get any temperatures into the tyres, but I think that affected everybody, not just us. Our pace on a long run looks surprisingly good, although we’re not quite there with our qualifying pace yet. Still, I feel happier with the car here than I have the past few weekends. There are some areas in which we’ve struggled before that now seem a little bit better, and that’s obviously positive. We may not be setting amazing times out there, but I’m happy that we’re heading in the right direction. And hopefully we can improve on Saturday from where we are today.”

Teammate Sergio Perez was only twelfth and didn’t enjoy his Thursday quite as much as Button. Regardless of the car’s race pace, the Mexican is mindful of the importance of track position and is focussing on achieving a top ten grid slot on Saturday.

“We tried a lot of things during today’s practice sessions. Not everything worked; some of the things we tried made it difficult for me to feel confident with the car, especially through the faster corners. So we’ll come back on those changes before Saturday’s practice. Still, we had no nasty surprises either, which was positive. I’m hopeful we can make it into Q3. I actually think Saturday will be the most important day of the weekend – everyone will be trying to save tyres so as to have as few stops as possible in the race. It’s likely to be a slow race with low degradation, so we need to give it our all on Saturday.”