McLaren pair Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have admitted that a tough weekend may lie ahead after the team again struggled to match the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari in Friday practice at the Hungaroring.
Having ended the opening session down in 18th place as the team worked on collecting data for the weekend ahead, Hamilton was able to go sixth quickest, although his fastest time was more than a second behind the benchmark set by Sebastian Vettel.
Admitting that there may only be a few-tenths to come from the MP4-24, Hamilton said there was plenty of work to be done with the team now adopting the approach of trying to score as many points as possible.
“The car was the best I've ever driven around here – it felt really great through the corners,” he said, “but, even so, we're losing quite a bit of time in the middle sector, and a couple of tenths in the first and third sectors, too.
“I think we're pretty much getting the best out of the package we have – we're dialing-in the set-up pretty effectively – but there's still maybe a few tenths to come. So we know we've got a lot of work to do: this weekend is really about scoring as many points as we can, and hoping the guys ahead run into trouble.
“It's going to be tough, but we've got to take the rough with the smooth and stay focused. And we'll do that, no doubt about it. As always, of course, I'll be pushing as hard as I can.”
Button ended the day four-tenths of a second further back with the ninth quickest time and agreed that a difficult weekend lies ahead with the team 'doing the best it can with the equipment we have'.
“I'm reasonably happy with the car today,” he said. “It didn't feel too great on the option tyre, but the balance was good on the prime. However, we're a little bit behind the Red Bulls and the Ferraris.
“It's probably therefore going to be a tricky weekend for us. There are still areas where we can improve, which is positive, but we're unlikely to close the gap completely here in Hungary. Hopefully, though, we'll see an improvement tomorrow, and that will move us closer.
“Still, we need to be doing the best job we can with the equipment we have, and that's exactly what we'll be doing. I know all the guys back at the McLaren Technology Centre are working flat-out to keep improving this car, and I've got absolute belief in them.”