Both McLaren Mercedes drivers were able to make it through to the final part of qualifying in Japan, with Kevin Magnussen getting the better of Jenson Button by the tiniest of margins as they qualified seventh and eighth at Suzuka.
Magnussen felt he could have qualified higher than seventh but failed to get a perfect lap on his second set of tyres after making a few small mistakes. He is not taking the arrival of the apparent imminent rain for granted, but will take whatever Suzuka throws at him on Sunday.
“I really enjoyed today, but I was slightly disappointed with P7, because I don’t think I got the perfect lap from my second set of tyres in Q3,” said Magnussen. “I made a few mistakes on that lap, so there were probably a few tenths left on the table.
“In terms of the weather, and the predicted arrival of the typhoon tomorrow, I’m taking it one day at a time. I’ll just look out of my hotel window in the morning and see what the weather is doing. I think it’s going to be wet, but let’s wait and see.”
Team-mate Button was less than a tenth behind Magnussen in eighth, and felt his final run was the best lap he had done all day. He knew the importance of a good qualifying position, especially with the McLaren’s set-up difference between the dry and the wet being minimal.
“My final lap in Q3 was the best lap I’d done all day,” admitted Button. “We didn’t get the timing of the previous runs right during Q1 and Q2, but the traffic was pretty much perfect for my final run.
“It was a good effort, but I still locked up going into the last chicane, which frustratingly gave me a small flat-spot. Still, we won’t use those tyres in the race, so it’s not too much of a problem. I’m not even sure if I lost any time, but it was a bit messy.
“Everyone thinks it’s going to be massively wet tomorrow. We don’t have too much of a different set-up between wet and dry, so it’s better to do well in qualifying. I’ll just take whatever the weather brings tomorrow.”