Jenson Button thinks McLaren-Honda has enjoyed a better opening day of free practice for the Australian Grand Prix than most of the other Formula One teams.
Difficult weather conditions including heavy showers and gusts of winds limited Friday’s on-track action in Melbourne, with very little running possible on the dry tyre.
However, Button and team-mate Fernando Alonso managed to placed inside the top 10 in both FP1 and FP2, while also completing a total of 29 and 27 laps respectively.
“We did what we could in the conditions, and we are probably in a better position than most for [Saturday],” Button said.
“There's a lot of testing you can do. We'd obviously like to do more but there's no point in these conditions. But it wasn’t a bad day, we ran through a lot of system checks as we always do on a Friday, you also run through the ride height scans to make sure you’ve got it right and the stiffness of the car and what have you.
“There was a lot to run through but testing was almost impossible with it being dry wet, dry wet and the 50km gusts of wind, it’s tricky but it’s the same for all of us and I think we made the best of it.”
Coming off its worst season since 1980, the pressure is on for McLaren and engine partner Honda to improve drastically in 2016. While Button already notices significant progress, the 2009 world champion is aware that it will take more time for his team to mix it at the sharp end of the field.
“I think we are in a much better situation than last year as a whole, the car is reliable which is great.
“You can actually do the set up work before qualifying, but it’s not going to be two seconds quicker than the last race last year, no, and we’re not going to be fighting at the front just yet, but there are definite improvements.
“The important thing is that Fernando and I will be giving it everything to get the maximum out of this car.”