Jenson Button says problems during practice for the Japanese Grand Prix was a major reason in his failure to get out of Q1 during qualifying at Suzuka.
The two McLarens were clearly struggling in the first part of qualifying and Button was eventually eliminated in 17th pace, with team-mate Fernando Alonso going through to Q2 just 0.032s ahead of him in 16th. Button had stated his belief there was something wrong with his car during Friday practice but and then said further disruption to his running in FP3 put him on the back foot.
“On Friday we had a different balance with the car, a different set-up and it wasn’t good, so we went to the other car’s set-up this morning and I had an engine issue all morning so it was massively down on power,” Button said.
“But they pretty much put it right for qualifying and that was it really. I was 0.03s slower than Fernando and to be fair to be that close to him after the weekend we’ve had isn’t horrific. That’s just where the car is round here.”
When it was put to him he must be disappointed with such an uncompetitive performance from McLaren at Honda’s home race in Japan, the 2009 world champion said the circuit doesn’t suit the car.
“Yeah but every corner, the mid-speed corners round here, the change of direction and the long Turn 7 is all very negative for us in terms of what our car is good at. So it’s never going to be the easiest but you always hope that it is [going to be better] at Honda’s home grand prix.”