Despite showing promising pace in free practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix, Jenson Button says McLaren-Honda’s fight will “definitively not” be with the three teams ahead.
The 2009 world champion finished eighth quickest in both Friday sessions, slotting in one spot behind team-mate Fernando Alonso twice. However, the Spaniard was nearly one full second off Sebastian Vettel in FP2, with Ferrari only the third fastest squad behind Mercedes and Red Bull around the Hungaroring.
“It’s pretty close in the middle of the field but we were seventh and eighth,” Button said. “Behind us is very close and our fight is with those behind, definitively not with the ones in front.”
“The car felt good, the circuit is fun and the new surface has good grip; the problem is if you have a small slide, then you find no grip whatsoever off the line.
“The tyre drops off a cliff and you feel like an amateur trying to keep control of the car – suddenly the tyre doesn’t work under heavy loads, which is very unusual.”
McLaren-Honda had one of its stronger race weekends in Budapest last year, scoring its sole double-points finish in an otherwise dismal campaign. Button adds that his team targets a similar result this Sunday.
“The goal is to score good points this weekend – not matter what way we get there.”