McLaren focused on race strategy

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Both McLaren drivers did not have the ideal qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, but with both starting on prime tyres tomorrow, they are hopeful of a strong result nonetheless.

Sergio Perez, MP4-28A-01: “First of all, I want to thank all the guys on the team – they did an amazing job to get the car turned around between FP3 and Q1 this afternoon. It was quite a big shunt but we still didn’t lose any track-time – that was really impressive, so thanks guys.

“At the beginning of Q1, I still felt a little bit uncomfortable with the car, which is why I only just made it through to Q2. However, my Q2 lap was quite good – we’d made a lot of changes to the car overnight – so I’m hopeful that we may have a better car for the race than we’ve had for some time.

“Given our pace – we knew we weren’t going to qualify in the top five – we opted to run the Prime in Q3. That tyre choice ought to give us a better strategy for the race tomorrow. We’ll be the first car starting on Primes, so I think we’re in a reasonable position for tomorrow.”

Jenson Button, MP4-28A-03: “When we run fresh rubber, I can’t get enough front-end in the car – we’re maxed out – so I’m struggling. In a way, that’s a positive – because it means we’ve introduced downforce to the rear of the car.

“And hopefully that situation will change for the race, when you can play around with things in the cockpit a little more, and there’s generally less rear grip for everyone. I’m a little disappointed as I’d hoped for a bit more here. I think that’s because it’s been difficult to balance the car – but, hopefully, we’ll show a little bit more pace in the race. I’m sure we can still have fun tomorrow.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Clearly, although you want track position around a circuit such as this, the two days of practice have shown us that the Option tyre won’t last for too long in the race tomorrow – so, unless they can get clear of the traffic, the Option runners might encounter some problems.

“Checo did a good job – he’ll be the first of the Prime runners. We knew the Prime would probably be about a second and a half slower [than the Option], so Checo qualified in about the position we’d expected.

“I must also add that the mechanics did an absolutely magnificent job to get Checo’s car turned around ahead of qualifying. His accident in the dying seconds of FP3 could hardly have come at a less opportune juncture, yet they threw themselves into the job – in difficult, hot and sweaty conditions – and pulled through with a few minutes to spare. Indeed, Checo lost not even a second of track time, as our strategy for both cars had always been to head out towards the latter half of Q1.

“For Jenson, P13 wasn’t quite what he’d expected – and his Q2 lap wasn’t quite enough to get him through to Q3. Still, both he and Checo are strong and determined racers and they’ll be giving it their all tomorrow.

“As usual, the Hungarian Grand Prix will be a long, stiflingly hot and very difficult affair – given the two-hour duration of the race, and the difficult, circuitous nature of the track, much can happen tomorrow. I’m therefore looking forward to an exciting race that will doubtless unravel in all manner of unpredictable ways – which will be great for drivers, teams, media and fans alike.”