Championship leader Jenson Button was 'encouraged' after practice today for Sunday's European Grand Prix at Valencia in Spain.

Button has been unable to match his early season form in recent events and Brawn have found themselves come under pressure from Red Bull Racing. However Button and team-mate Rubens Barrichello were both right on the money during the opening day of running on Friday, finishing proceedings second and third quickest respectively.

Button, who hasn't won since the Turkish Grand Prix back in June, was pretty pleased to be back near the top of the timesheets.

"We've had a reasonably good first day of practice and it's encouraging to see that the car seems to be on the pace again," said the Brit.

"The focus of our programme was on set-up checks and back-to-back evaluations to confirm that the work done back at the factory after our shutdown was in the right direction.

"There is still some work needed on the set-up before qualifying as I'm not completely happy with the balance but all in all the pace of the car seems reasonably good."

Ross Brawn meanwhile was also happy with how his two drivers' have begun the build up to what is the eleventh round in the 2009 F1 World Championship.

"We've had a good start to the weekend today with two strong practice sessions. The track temperatures are very high here, reaching 50?C this afternoon, so we have been able to manage our tyre temperatures well and not encounter the issues which have hampered our pace at the past few races," he continued.

"Both drivers followed very similar programmes as we revisited some set-ups from previous races as test items to increase our understanding of the car's performance. The initial feedback is that Jenson and Rubens are broadly in agreement on the direction that we should follow from here.

"We're pleased to have collected so much data to apply here and take onto the next race in Spa, Belgium. Overall it has been a positive beginning to the weekend for us."

Barrichello echoed those thoughts: "It feels great to be back to what seems to be a competitive level of pace. The two practice sessions went well with a lot of work achieved on both sides of the garage.

"I'm pretty happy with the data that we collected and with the way that the car developed over the course of the day. If we can continue in this direction then it should be a good weekend," he predicted.


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