Jenson Button has a 'good feeling' McLaren
have found a set-up and a direction that will allow them to be 'more competitive' during the Bahrain Grand Prix
weekend, even if the opening day was far from easy.
Button began practice for the fourth round in the 2013 F1 World Championship quite positively and he posted the sixth best time in the first session, a 1 minute 35.069 seconds.
However, he couldn't match that in FP2 and finished up eleventh on the combined Friday times, around a second off the pace, conceding that the tyres are 'behaving strangely' and that is it 'very difficult to know what to do with the set-up'.
Despite that though, he remains optimistic: “Today's sessions were very productive for us,” he insisted. “We completed some useful investigative work this morning before focusing on longer runs this afternoon.
“It's very difficult to know exactly what to do with set-up. This is a big traction circuit, with lots of low-speed exits and a few high-speed corners too, and that puts a lot of load into the rear tyres. The tyres are behaving a bit strangely here – driving conservatively doesn't seem to help their wear-life, so there's only so much you can do without damaging your outright pace.
"But we've tried a few things, and we'll get there. I've already got a good feeling that we've found a set-up and a direction for tomorrow that will be more competitive. There's a lot we can take away from today that will help us for tomorrow.”
Team-mate Sergio Perez meanwhile wasn't quite so chipper and could only post an eleventh best effort in FP1 and a 13th best time in FP2: “We managed to complete our full run-plan in both the morning and afternoon, which was a positive, but it's going to be a difficult weekend for us,” noted the Mexican.
He still thinks though that the team can score points: “Although we'll probably be fighting to get into Q3, there's still plenty of potential for having a good race on Sunday,” he added.
“The team has shown before that, with solid preparation, we can run a clever strategy on Sunday, and I think we have enough raw material from today to help us race strongly this weekend. So, scoring points is a realistic ambition for us here in Bahrain.”