Jenson Button wants conditions to be mixed on Saturday in Canada - and if they are he is convinced McLaren
will be able to make the best of it.
Speaking after practice on Friday at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the Englishman added that he definitely thinks the squad is edging forward and making progress with the troublesome MP4-28, although he isn't expecting any miracles, hence his wish for rain.
Button, who was second quickest in the wet opening session, concluded the day ninth overall, despite missing the end of FP2 due to gearbox problems.
“I think we're a little nearer to the front than we've been in the past – the times are very close – but it'll be the usual front-running cars who set the pace this weekend,” he predicted.
“We needed everything to be reliable today, but I only managed three laps on my high-fuel run before I had a problem with the gearbox. That was a pity because it meant we didn't get the long-run information we were after. In fact, we had a similar issue last year, when I also had a gearbox problem on the Friday. In 2012, I had a difficult race with rear graining.
“Nonetheless, the positive from today is that each car was running a very different set-up, so at least we gathered lots of good information. We'll go away and study that tonight ahead of tomorrow's sessions. I'm hoping the conditions will stay mixed for tomorrow – if they do, I think we'll be able to make the best of it.”
Team-mate Sergio Perez meanwhile also seems to be hoping for rain and he ended the day twelfth overall in the sister car.
“We encountered some very tricky conditions out there today. This morning's session, when it started damp and slowly dried, was particularly difficult. The rain that fell during this afternoon's long-run didn't help, either,” added the Mexican.
“We're still lacking overall performance to the frontrunners; but anything can happen here, especially in the conditions we saw today, which were extremely varied. If tomorrow is as wet as today, everyone will go into Sunday without any proper long-running under their belts – that could make the race a big surprise for everybody.”
“It's been a tricky day,” McLaren
team principal, Martin Whitmarsh chipped in. “It was a little bit frustrating for both the drivers and the engineers that they weren't able to perform all the tests they wanted today. We had a lot of work, and a variety of tests, to do, but the conditions made that difficult. We got as much done as possible, but we've still only got a limited dataset to analyse ahead of tomorrow.
“We're not as strong as we want to be – we've got bits and pieces of data to study – but we'll still do the best job we can.”