After a disappointing weekend at Singapore, both McLaren Mercedes drivers are looking forward to getting back out on track this weekend at Suzuka. Jenson Button was running in the points when his car failed on him towards the end in Singapore, ending his run of 36 races of consecutive classified finishes, while Kevin Magnussen claimed a point on the final lap after passing the grip-less Williams of Valtteri Bottas.
One of Button’s personal best careers wins was at Suzuka back in 2011, but feels this year will be trickier as the team aim for their first podium finish since the opening race of the season at Melbourne. He feels the Esses section of the track is the best sequence corners in the world, and is excited to get out on track.
“Coming to Suzuka feels like a second home race for me,” reflected Button. “Japan is such a special place and my win here in 2011 really stands out as a personal highlight. The fans there really set it apart and there’s an incredible atmosphere about the whole place all weekend.
“It’s also one of the best circuits we come to; a real challenge and incredibly unforgiving, which makes it all the more rewarding when you get it right. For me the Esses are the best section of corners in the world – totally unique to Suzuka, which makes racing here so exciting. Being such a tricky, high-speed track you need good downforce, rhythm and total focus to get the most out of a lap.
“Despite not getting to the finish in Singapore, we’re definitely on an upward curve in terms of developing the car. Suzuka will be a tricky one for us, but I’m still really looking forward to it.”
Team-mate Magnussen is making his first appearance at Suzuka. The young Dane is hoping the issues that affected him in Singapore – when a broken seal on a radiator caused his cockpit to overheat – will not resurface in Japan, and is hopeful of a good weekend with the upgraded car that has shown well in the past few races.
“Suzuka is one of those legendary circuits – I can’t wait to get out there,” said Magnussen. “I’m really looking forward to driving onto the track for the first time and tackling the famous corners you always hear about – the Esses, the Degners, then Spoon and 130R.
“After Singapore, I’m hoping the conditions in Japan won’t be quite so difficult to manage! It was a really tough race and we deserved more than we came home with, but I’m confident that we can begin the weekend in good form and build on the improvements we’ve already seen in the past few races.
“Suzuka looks like a really challenging circuit, very fast with some really tricky corners to get right, which makes overtaking a bit more difficult than at other tracks. I can’t wait to get to the track and start working with my engineers to get the best set-up. After the difficult race we had last time out, I’m going to give it my absolute all to get the best possible result here for the team.”