Jenson Button is happy with his qualifying pace for the Malaysian Grand Prix after being only 0.029 seconds behind Nico Hulkenberg in ninth.
The McLaren-Honda driver produced good pace at the Sepang International Circuit that will see him start in ninth on his 300th Grand Prix, even though he was critical of some of the driving from the other drivers, particularly in Q1 where he found himself held up on more than one occasion and even survived a spin as Kevin Magnussen got in his way.
With this performance, Button is now confident for Sunday’s race and believes there is no reason why McLaren can not fight the cars around them to finish strong.
“I really enjoyed qualifying!” said Button. “It’s never nice to be just 0.029s behind the car in front, but that wasn’t too bad – we were either going to be eighth or ninth, and we ended up being ninth. I’m happy with that.
“During Q1, I had issues with traffic; I had to out-brake Esteban Ocon into Turn Nine during my quick lap, and you shouldn’t have to be doing that during qualifying. I also had a little spin at Turn 14 when I lost all my downforce behind one of the Renaults. That first session was busy.
“Still, we’ve improved the car a lot since practice yesterday, but the team has done a great job to improve it. Qualifying was the first time this weekend that I really felt comfortable. Hopefully we can show well in the race – there’s no reason why we can’t fight the cars around us tomorrow.”