Jenson Button: “We’re not quite there yet with the balance”

Credit: McLaren Media Centre

Jenson Button believes McLaren-Honda aren’t quite there with their balance after the opening day of practice for the European Grand Prix.

In Free Practice 1 he finished in seventh with a time of 1:49.019 behind the Sahara Force India of Sergio Perez, but in the second practice session the Briton improved on his earlier time by 2.785 seconds but only managed to finish the session in ninth.

Button believes McLaren need to better understand the Pirelli tyre compounds around the Baku Street Circuit, and feel they need to improve their performance on the softest of the three, the Supersoft.

“We started this morning a little bit better than we’d perhaps expected,” said Button. “But, once everyone had got to grips with the track, it moved us to our usual positions.

“Getting the right downforce level will be key for qualifying – we still need to work out what that will be, as our understanding isn’t quite there yet. We also need to better understand the tyres, too – the Soft seems to be a good tyre, but we need to improve our performance on the Supersoft.

“There are some good corners around here; Turn 14 is right on the edge – it’s mad, really – but the section past the castle is too slow. The car felt reasonably okay, but, on a slippery track, when you get a tiny bit of oversteer, you suddenly get a lot of oversteer, which makes things tough. We’re not quite there yet with the balance, but I hope we can get things into shape for Saturday and Sunday.”