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Button worried by lack of McLaren pace

Jenson Button might have won last year's Australian GP, but on Friday he couldn't even crack the top ten at the end of free practice.
"Clearly we're not as quick as we'd like to be," was Jenson Button's blunt assessment at the end of the first day of free practice in the 2013 F1 world championship.

That was something of an understatement. Last year's race winner was almost two and a half seconds off the Red Bull driven by Sebastian Vettel at the end of three hours of free practice running at Albert Park in Melbourne, and things weren't getting any better as the day progressed.

"Our short runs weren't particularly encouraging, to be honest," he admitted. "We're a couple of seconds off the pace, by the looks of things, and that's always going to be disappointing for a team as successful as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

"In a situation like this one, all you can say is that there's a hell of a lot of work for us to do, and that we're well up for it," he continued. "This team is incredibly good at turning things around, performance-wise, when that's what's required."

But the British former world champion was under no illusions that it was looking like Saturday was going to be a tough time of it for the team, based on their showing in free practice so far.

"Qualifying won't be easy, but I'm pretty sure we'll be able to do a better job on Saturday than we've done today," he said, leaving unspoken the implied 'it could hardly be much worse.'

"I'll be surprised - and very happy - if we are in the top ten on Saturday," was his assessment of where McLaren stood on the basis of Friday's performance. And things hadn't appeared to be improving as the day went on.

"Our car appears to be lacking in grip and consistency, and is suffering from significant understeer and poor ride," contributed team principal Martin Whitmarsh. "Try as we might, we didn't move forward in performance terms during the course of the day, either."

"We have quite a few weaknesses with the car," Button elaborated. "Ride is a lot worse than what we expected and Martin's already pointed that out. We've been working with that today to try and improve the car around the ride, but we haven't really found a direction yet.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
15.03.2013- Free Practice 1, Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28
15.03.2013- Free Practice 2, Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28
15.03.2013- Free Practice 2, Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28
15.03.2013- Free Practice 1, Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28
15.03.2013- Free Practice 2, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-28
15.03.2013- Free Practice 1, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-28
15.03.2013- Free Practice 1, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-28
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09.
27.08.2016. Qualifying
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-31.
27.08.2016. Qualifying
27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11
27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Manor Racing MRT05
27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16

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March 15, 2013 2:40 PM
Last Edited 473 days ago

At +2 seconds of the pace, McLaren are looking at being lapped in Melbourne. Didn't Jenson says something to the effect that Lowe leaving would not make a difference.

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