Reigning F1 world champion Jenson Button has said he should be able to get some 'good points' from the European Grand Prix weekend, despite finishing practice on Friday at the bottom end of the top-ten.
Button began the day strongly and he was third fastest in the first session, on a 1 minute 41.383 seconds. Although he improved in FP2 and posted a 1m 40.029s, it left him ninth overall, more than seven tenths off the top time set by Ferrari man Fernando Alonso, and three tenths off his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton.
While he was a bit off the pace though, Button maintained he was feeling happier with his car by the end of the second practice session, something that bodes well for the rest of the weekend.
“It's hard to get a balance around this circuit, but we changed it throughout P2 and the car feels pretty good now,” Button confirmed. “Our long run was quite promising, too – we were perhaps a little over-cautious at the beginning, so I was able to push at the end.
“I'm reasonably happy, but there are a lot of quick cars out there. The Ferraris look very fast; so do the Red Bulls, Renaults and Mercedes. But that's because teams bring out upgrade packages at different points during the season, and we don't have an upgrade for here, and many teams do.
“Anyway, it evens out over the season but we've just got to fight it out here and get the best out of what we've got. This is a car we know, so we'll tweak it and try to make sure we don't make any mistakes this weekend. It's going to be a tough weekend for us, but an enjoyable one too, and we should still get some good points from it.”
McLaren boss, Martin Whitmarsh added: “Today we saw just how relentless the development race has become in F1, with several cars appearing to take a step forward in pace by adopting a blown diffuser and showing, particularly this afternoon, that it seemingly offers a useful performance advantage.
“As we've already said, we don't have any significant upgrades for this race, so the weekend will be more about pushing to maximise the potential of the package we currently have, minimising our mistakes and pushing hard at every opportunity to score the most possible points on Sunday.”