Jenson Button says his McLaren-Honda has “got quite a bit more power” in Malaysia than at the opening race of the season.
The two McLarens qualified on the back row of the grid for the Australian Grand Prix, with Button finishing the race two laps down as Eric Boullier said Honda “downtuned everything” in Melbourne. Following Friday practice in Malaysia, Button says he can notice an increase in power which has helped the team look more competitive at Sepang.
“We learnt a lot,” Button said. “We tried a few things that definitely did not work for us but at least we know now. In terms of development with the engine and getting the maximum of what we have right now, we’ve learnt a lot already from the last race, so we’ve got quite a bit more power but still working on driveability and some areas, fine-tuning some things and other things we’ve made a big step in.”
However, Button warns McLaren not to get carried away just because it has made such an improvement over the past two weeks.
“We’ve both been running smoothly today with both cars, which is good. In terms of pace, the power unit … we’re maximising a lot more now in terms of the power unit itself but also the MGU-K and other areas. It’s basically getting more out of the current engine than what we had in the first race. It’s just through experience of running the whole race in Melbourne so that’s all good.
“Temperatures seem to be OK. We have some new parts, both cars are quite different today. Hopefully, we can put everything together tomorrow and find a little bit more pace.
“There’s progress but still a long way to go.”
Click here for Friday's gallery from the Malaysian Grand Prix