Jenson Button admitted that qualifying for the McLaren-Honda team went better than expected after both he and Fernando Alonso made it through to Q2 on Saturday.
After heading into the Australian Grand Prix positive about the mileage the team achieved during pre-season testing but less so about the pace, the British driver was content to qualify further up the grid than he had been expecting beforehand, and insists the team are in a much better position than they were in twelve months ago at the same event.
“Twelfth and 13th on the grid is slightly better than we expected before we came here,” said Button. “The car didn’t feel too bad, although I think people struggled with the drop in temperature between FP3 and qualifying.
“I enjoyed driving the car, although, at the end of Q2, we didn’t have any Supersoft tyres left, and weren’t quite quick enough.
“Winter testing was positive in terms of mileage, but less so in terms of pace, so we’re all positively surprised with how close we were to Williams and Force India. I actually believe we have a better race car than a qualifying car – which is a turnaround from last year – and our deployment is almost as good as anybody else’s, which will benefit us more in the races.
“Today isn’t too bad a starting point – much better than where we were this time last year.”