Jenson Button revealed he was forced to take the set-up of team-mate Fernando Alonso at Suzuka on Saturday, but the Briton was unable to make it out of the first phase of qualifying.
The McLaren-Honda driver has endured a tough weekend at the Japanese circuit and has not been near the pace needed to be competitive, and although he was using the older-specification power unit in comparison to Alonso, he was only 0.032s seconds down on his team-mate in Q1.
Unfortunately the deficit to Alonso meant that he was eliminated whilst his team-mate progressed through to Q2, with Button admitting the Suzuka circuit just does not suit the MP4-31.
“It’s been a tough weekend so far,” admitted Button. “I switched over to Fernando’s set-up this morning after failing to find a balance on Friday – my car just wasn’t working.
“To be that close to Fernando – just three-hundredths off his best time in Q1 – after the weekend we’ve had so far, really wasn’t too horrific. Our lap-time today is simply a fair reflection of how fast our car is around here – and that meant I went out in Q1.
“Our package works best in lower-speed corners and under heavy braking; Suzuka has lots of mid-to-high-speed corners and long bends – plus long straights – which are all trickier for us.”