McLaren carefully optimistic for race

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Belgium, Circuit De Spa-Francorchampsbe

Jenson Button qualified in 6th place for tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix while Sergio Perez in the second McLaren was disappointed to be 13th after getting somewhat caught out by the conditions during Q2. Both are however optimistic they can score solid points in the race.

Jenson Button, MP4-28A-04, 6th: “In the dry we were relatively happy with our pace, and in the wet I reckon it was a bit better still. I think P6 for us was an okay outcome, therefore. However, we’re still lacking a little bit compared with what we’d hoped for here, which shortfall we suspect is the result of an aero efficiency issue. We’ll have to analyse that thoroughly before Monza. But, going back to Spa, our timing was just a little bit off at the end of Q3, which enabled the top three guys to put in laps quicker than ours. Even so, the fact that there are three Brits in the top six is just great.

“Looking forward to tomorrow, if the weather is wet, or changeable, as we expect it to be, then things could get tricky for all the front-runners, because I think we’ve all used our supply of inters. Anyway, let’s see what happens. It should be an exciting race.”

Sergio Pérez, MP4-28A-02, 13th: “In tricky conditions like today’s you have to be in the right place at the right time, and it’s a pity we couldn’t optimise our potential by doing that, because on a wet track our car is pretty strong and we therefore had a very good opportunity to qualify well here this afternoon.

“So I’m a bit disappointed, of course, because we went out a bit too late and thereby lost the ‘window’, preventing us from being able to put in a lap that would have moved us through to Q3. It’s a pity, because the track was improving quickly at that time, and we’d have therefore been able to improve our lap time significantly.

“But that’s racing – and tomorrow is another day – and our car should be reasonably competitive if it rains. So I’ll try my best to make up for today’s disappointment by scoring some good points for the team tomorrow.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “In the portion of Q3 during which the track was wet, Jenson was the second-quickest driver out there – so, although P6 is a decent place from which to start, he would have been closer still to the sharp end of the grid had the rain persisted until the end of the session. Having said that, he did a great job and is well placed to drive a competitive race in tomorrow’s race, which we expect will be a wet one.

“Checo had an even more frustrating time of it this afternoon, missing the one-more-lap cut-off flag by a second or two at the end of Q2, else he too would have made it comfortably into Q3.

“Even so, like Jenson, I’m sure he’ll drive competitively tomorrow, using the likely wet conditions to his advantage in an effort to move through the field and score some valuable world championship points for us.

“So, overall, today was a bit frustrating for us from a number of perspectives, but our pace has been decent in the wet conditions that we expect tomorrow so we have reason to be guardedly optimistic about the race.”


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