The McLaren Mercedes duo of Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button both bemoaned a lack of pace around the Singapore circuit during qualifying, with the Dane qualifying ninth and the Briton eleventh for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Magnussen was able to out-qualify Button once more, and will start ninth but felt that he got the most out of his car on Saturday. He is hoping good fortune will head his way on Sunday so he can make up some positions, but will be working hard to maximise his race whatever conditions, safety cars or the like come his way.
“We got the most out of what we had today – which is worth underlining – and to make it into Q3 still feels pretty decent, but we’re not fast enough,” said Magnussen. “We need to keep pushing to develop the car. I don’t think there was much more I could have done: we’re not quick enough here, so hopefully tomorrow there’ll be some well-timed Safety Cars and a couple of opportune retirements to help us move up the order.
“We’ll do our best tomorrow, as usual, and I’ll be pushing as hard as I can. I’m a racer – so, if I see an opportunity to move forward by taking a few chances, then why not? We don’t have much to lose, so we might as well try to maximise what’s available to us. I’ll be doing everything I can in the race – nothing less. Hopefully, we’ll get some useful points. It’s frustrating, because we’re doing well, but we’re still not quick enough.”
Team-mate Button was unhappy after missing out on the final part of qualifying by 0.017s, especially after feeling happier with his car after Q1. A small lock-up cost him that critical time, but even if he had joined Magnussen in Q3, he felt he would not have been that high up the grid for Sunday’s race.
“Not making the cut into Q3 is disappointing, especially considering the strong progress we’d made during Q1,” said Button. “On my final, critical run in Q2, I lost quite a lot of time at the hairpin – I locked up the fronts and ran wide – and I dropped a couple of tenths. After that it was always going to be very close – but, even if I’d got through to the top 10, I think it would have been difficult to make much further progress up the Q3 order.
“To explain things further, during Q1 I’d already dialled the front wing settings up to their maximum, and, as the circuit gripped-up into Q2, I struggled because I didn’t have enough front-end [grip]. I did everything I could to compensate, by using the differential and engine braking, but it wasn’t quite enough.
“I haven’t looked too deeply at the strategy for tomorrow yet, but hopefully the ability to choose our starting tyre will help us make some progress.”