The McLaren Mercedes team showed good pace throughout the Italian Grand Prix but the finishing positions of eighth and tenth did not represent the true standings of the team. Both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen are hoping the form from Monza carries over to the weekend in Singapore, on a track very different to the fast Italian circuit.
Button believes the team are steadily improving this season, with the proof being the performance, albeit not the result, in Italy two weeks ago. He is eager to get onto the streets of Marina Bay to see what the team can do in Singapore, a circuit that he feels is ‘special’, especially with the paddock remaining on European time throughout the weekend.
“This is such a special race,” said Button. “The whole weekend feels different – there’s a buzz to the paddock when you first walk in on Thursday afternoon and it never goes away. You can feel the vibe – and the tension and anticipation climb higher and higher as we get closer to the race itself on Sunday night.
“We had a positive showing at Spa and Monza, and we’re continuing to develop and improve the car. As we move back to higher-downforce circuits, it’ll be interesting to see how the pack reshuffles itself – I think we’ll still be able to maintain our forward momentum.
“I also think Monza showed us that this formula is working – we had some fantastically close battles in Italy, and I really hope that we continue that in Singapore. It’s not the easiest of tracks for racing, but I think Monza has shown that the new regulations are in fact making the racing better. I’m really looking forward to getting out on track and seeing what these cars can do.”
Team-mate Magnussen admits that he has been looking forward to racing around the streets of Singapore all season, and has never experienced a race at night before. He believes it will be one of the toughest races of the season, with the race likely to approach the two-hour limit.
“I’ve been looking forward to this race all year,” exclaimed Magnussen. “I’ve never done a night race before, so this is going to be such a special weekend. Racing at night under the spotlights really feels like a show, and I think it’s an incredible and positive thing for the sport as a whole.
“This is also probably going to be one of the physically toughest races of the year – it’ll last for nearly two hours, and there aren’t too many opportunities around the lap to relax. But I like that – I like tracks that are quite intense: I really enjoyed the Hungaroring, which is quite relentless, and this looks pretty similar.”
Talking of the FIA ban on certain tyres of over-the-radio instructions, Magnussen does not know how teams will interpret the rules, but he believes his McLaren team will find the best way to make the new regulations work in their favour.
“I think the impending ban on over-the-radio instructions will be interesting,” insisted Magnussen. “As with any sudden change to the interpretation of the regulations, it’s going to be tricky to know exactly how best to proceed, but I’m sure we’ll find a way to make it work.”