Both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen both showed good pace on Friday at Monza as the McLaren Mercedes team prepared their MP4-29 cars for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.
Button was third fastest in the morning session but slipped to sixth in the afternoon, and feels his single lap pace is stronger than his race pace, but feels tyre wear will not be such an issue with both compounds of tyre showing a good wear rate that would mean either an one or two stop strategy on Sunday.
“There’s still some work for us to do, but, all in all, it’s been a relatively good day for us,” said Button. “Our single-lap pace looks quite good, but we’re probably lacking in race pace compared with some of the other teams. Still, it’s always difficult to know where you are on a Friday – we don’t yet know quite where we stand.
“The revised run-off at Parabolica is still slower, if you go off-track, but now you don’t get penalised. I’m definitely carrying more speed into that corner than I did last year – because you’re less wary of the gravel exit, which is no longer there. It’s different, but I’m still not sure whether I like it.
“Looking at tyre wear, it’s going to be a one or two-stopper around here, but the warmer weather that’s forecast could make it easier to blister the tyres. And that could make the strategy a little trickier for everyone.”
Team-mate Magnussen was fifth in free practice one and eighth in free practice two, but feels there is promise in the McLaren this weekend that could enable them to have a strong race on Sunday.
“I think the high-fuel runs this afternoon were pretty promising,” said Magnussen. “Our straight-line speed and braking both feel good, so I think we should be able to race reasonably strongly with this car, which is pretty important around here.
“Hopefully, we should be able to get a good qualifying result – but I’d rather have good race pace than good quali pace.
“I think a low-downforce track with big braking zones – areas where our car is usually quite strong – means that we should definitely be trying to get a decent result this weekend.”