After ending the FP2 session in P3 on Friday, one of McLaren’s best finishes during practice for a long time, Jenson Button looked like he may have found that extra something here in Bahrain, however the 36-year-old was brought back down to earth during Qualifying, the Brit being eliminated in Q2 and finishing down the order in P14.
“The car has been really good all weekend: I’ve been mostly struggling with a bit of understeer, but, for my Q2 run, we came up a tiny bit on the front wing, and the car was the complete opposite – big oversteer,” said Button. “Over steer is not something I particularly like – so I wasn’t very happy with my Q2 lap.”
Super sub team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne was able to put in a quick lap when it mattered, beating the 2009 World champion in his first qualifying outing to go P12, with Button quick to praise his fellow McLaren colleague.
“Having said that, Stoffel did a good job today, and I didn’t do such a good job,” insisted Button. “He’s very competitive, he’s quick, he’s won here before, and I think he’s proven how good he is around a place like this.
“We knew how quick he could be – especially over one lap. He’s been a big part of this team for the past couple of years, and as I say he did a really good job.”
But despite the disappointment of finishing behind his debuting team-mate, Button is positive of a stronger performance in Sunday’s race.
“Still, we know the pace is in the car, so hopefully tomorrow will be a bit better,” said Button. “Nobody really knows what’s going to happen in the race.
“It’s a tricky one – we’ve got three different tyres to work with, and I think we have a reasonable understanding of what to do, but you never know until the race starts. There are so many options – and we fell foul of that at the last race, so hopefully we won’t do that here and we’ll have a stronger performance on Sunday.”