McLaren's Jenson Button was left bitterly disappointed at the end of qualifying for the F1 2010 British Grand Prix today, after he failed to make it through to the top-ten shoot-out in front of his home fans.
Button has struggled most of the weekend, and having only been 13th on the combined times in practice on Friday, he was again off the pace this morning, and only 12th, even though the team opted to abandon running with its new 'blown diffuser'.
Button's woes continued into qualifying, and while he easily made it through Q1, he could do no better than 14th in Q2. Indeed his best lap, a 1 minute 31.699 seconds, left him more than three tenths off the cut – and around half a second of his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, who went on to secure a place on the second row in the sister car.
“This morning the car was really good, so it felt like there was something wrong this afternoon,” Button reflected. “I don't yet know if there's an issue, but the car felt very strange. I had to take enormous amounts of front wing out, and I don't know why. We had a similar problem finding a good balance on Friday.
“We removed the blown diffuser overnight, and I'm comfortable that that was the right decision. It wouldn't have been right to run it here. But we've still got some aero upgrades on the car – a new front wing – and they're working really well.
“While it's true that we didn't have too much practice with the [normal] exhaust system, things were reasonably good in P3, and I still felt like we could do a reasonable job in qualifying this afternoon. So P14 is very, very disappointing for me.”
McLaren team principal, Martin Whitmarsh meanwhile was equally frustrated for the reigning world champion, who will now have his work cut out in Sunday's race if he is to score.
“It's a pity that we didn't manage to supply Jenson with a car in which he could feel comfortable today – but, like Lewis, he never gives up and on race day he will be giving no quarter in his attempts to score as many points as he possibly can,” Whitmarsh added.