McLaren's Jenson Button and Sergio Perez will start from 10th and 11th respectively at tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix. Both drivers were happy with their qualifying runs, even though Perez only narrowly missed out on Q3.
Jenson Button, MP4-28A-04, 10th: “In Q3 at Suzuka you want to go out and have fun – which is exactly what I did. I couldn’t have gone any quicker. I did three laps in Q2 and Q3 that were almost identical, so I think P10 was as good as our car could get here today. There wasn’t any more time left out on the track, but it was fun trying to find it!
“Looking forward to tomorrow’s grand prix, I think it’s going to be a different sort of race to those we’ve experienced recently, because the tyre degradation is more reasonable here than it’s been in previous races. Actually, I think both compounds are working well here.
“I’m really looking forward to the race, and hopefully we’ll be able to make progress and bag a decent haul of points. It’s going to be tough out there though – but that’s why we enjoy this sport.”
Sergio Perez, MP4-28A-01, 11th: “It was extremely close: my first set of tyres in Q2 were the Options I’d run during Q1 when we’d aborted because of the red flag. That meant my reference for my second Q2 run wasn’t ideal as I didn’t really know where the track was going.
“Obviously, yesterday we missed out on some useful track time owing to the accident, so this morning was spent trying to recover that time, changing set-up and learning about the track. To miss out by just over tenth wasn’t ideal but, on the other hand, I think we’re in a good position to score points tomorrow.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Both drivers did a good, solid, professional job in qualifying here today. Checo was unlucky to miss out on going through to Q3 by the narrowest of margins, and as a result he’ll start tomorrow’s grand prix from P11.
“Jenson got through to Q3 reasonably comfortably – which was why, especially as the upper midfield is so close and competitive these days, he elected to run in Q3 in an effort to improve his grid position for the race. In the end he just failed to do that, but we believe that it was the right decision to give it a go even if hindsight now informs us that the P10 he’d already secured was in fact the best we could have managed here today.
“Having said that, Jenson loves Suzuka, won brilliantly here two years ago, and invariably races very well here. No-one is expecting him to deliver a repeat victory tomorrow, but you can be well sure that he’ll be putting in his usual measured yet forceful performance in an effort steadily to climb the leaderboard in the cut and thrust of tomorrow’s 53-lap race.
“Checo, too, will be eager to score as many points as possible tomorrow, and he’s well placed to do just that.”