McLaren had another difficult Saturday during which both drivers got stuck in Q2, qualifying in 11th and 14th places. Jenson Button however is especially optimistic as his car improved considerably since the Friday sessions.
Jenson Button, MP4-28A-03, 11th: “I’m higher on the grid than I expected after practice. Yesterday, I didn’t think we’d qualify ahead of one Ferrari and just behind the two Lotuses. But I was much happier in qualifying than I’d been all weekend – we should be positive that we’ve improved the car
“I think 11th was the best we could have realistically achieved today. Even if we’d got into Q3, we’d probably have been 10th; so starting 11th means I’ll have a new set of tyres and will start from the clean side of the grid.
“After Q2 I walked down the pitlane to the FIA scales, waving to the crowd. There were so many Union Jacks and rocket-red caps out there, and the fans have been unbelievably supportive all weekend. You always want to do a good job in front of your home crowd, so I want to say a big ‘thank-you’ to them for their support. You never know what will happen tomorrow: starting 11th isn’t great, but we can race well from there. I will drive my heart out for a good result.”
Sergio Perez, MP4-28A-01, 14th: "It’s been a difficult day. The puncture in FP3 wasn’t the best preparation for qualifying – and it made it more difficult, because we had to change the damaged floor for the older-spec version.
“This afternoon, I struggled a little with the warm-up of my tyres during Q2; I lost temperature when I was stopped and weighed at the FIA scales. We’ve been a bit unlucky all day. Still, we were a lot closer today than we were yesterday. Even if it’s not apparent, we’ve definitely made some improvements, and I think we might have had the potential to slip into Q3 if we’d been a little bit luckier. Our race pace should be better than our qualifying pace. Tomorrow is still going to be difficult, but I’m positive we can go forwards from here.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: "It’s been a difficult weekend for the team, but our pace in qualifying shows an upturn in form that we hope to carry into the race tomorrow. Jenson was unfortunate to miss out on Q3. In Q2, he lost out to 10th place by just 0.057s, and was only 0.659s from the fastest qualifier.
“Checo had an unlucky day: his poor luck started with his puncture in FP3, which damaged his floor and meant we had to fit an older-spec floor to his car. Into qualifying, he was called to the FIA weighbridge, which lost him tyre temperature, and then encountered traffic on his critical run, which lost him time.
“However, both our drivers are fantastic racers: Jenson will have the support of the home crowd behind him, and Checo will be determined to recover from the setbacks that affected him today. So I think our drivers are both set for charging races tomorrow.”